A financial planner who committed fraud, affecting multiple Waikato and Bay of Plenty victims, has been sentenced in the Tauranga District Court.
Jonathan Graham West pleaded guilty in March to fraud charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office and was sentenced to three years' imprisonment.
Mr West faced five Crimes Act charges of 'Theft by person in special relationship' for his conduct as a director of The Investment Centre Limited and Matrix Futures Limited, which he operated between 1994 and 2013.
Mr West offered financial planning advice, implementation of investment strategies and ongoing reporting on investments. His clients initially saw satisfactory returns from sound business practices. However, between 2009 and 2013 Mr West began using clients' funds on their behalf but outside the agreed terms or using his clients' money for his own purposes.
The offending by Mr West amounted to approximately $1.4 million.
SFO Director, Julie Read says while investors are entitled to expect high standards of conduct from investment advisers who owe a duty of trust to their clients, it is also important that investors take care to protect themselves.
"Investors should ask questions of their advisers about where their money will be invested and on what terms and they should closely monitor their investments asking for copies of all relevant documentation," she says.