Million dollar fraudster Ian Ludwig jailed for four years nine months
A crooked businessman who fleeced his victims of more than $1.3 million has been described as a "rapist" by a woman he defrauded.
Former businessman Ian Ludwig, 62, was sentenced to four years nine months jail when he appeared in the Auckland District Court on Thursday in front of Judge Rob Ronayne.
He had previously pleaded guilty on the eve of his trial to seven counts of theft by person in a special relationship for a total of $1,328,000.
The court heard how Ludwig encouraged associates to invest in his franchisee business New Zealand Home Loans, but instead of investing it he swindled their money to use on personal expenses.
The offending occurred between 2002, up until the Global Financial Crisis in 2009.
One of his victims, a woman who had worked overseas in a war zone, said losing her savings was beyond painful.
Reading her victim impact statement in court the woman cried as she described losing "everything".
"This man never laid a hand on me, but I was raped in every single sense but sexually ... a violation occurred," she said.
"Ironically, the real danger for me didn't turn out to be Baghdad but Auckland ... I trusted him, but here I am."
Another man described how he wanted to kill himself after losing his money to Ludwig.
The court heard how victims would invest money with Ludwig under the belief they were short-term bonds with a yield of 12 per cent per annum.
However, the money was going straight to Ludwig's own account.
His victims were all issued receipts under the New Zealand Home Loans letterhead, despite it going into his own account.
Ludwig's lawyer Dan Gardner told the court his client was remorseful, something Judge Ronanye rebutted.
"He blames the Global Financial Crisis. He stole money over five years and he blamed the Global Financial Crisis for his business failings. He played the pokies," Judge Ronayne said.
In his sentencing, Judge Ronayne said Ludwig had "devastated" lives.
"You have created suicidal thoughts. You have taken away, as one victim said, the niceties and luxuries of life. Taken from people who, like most people, worked very hard to gather together those funds. You have, for example from one victim, taken the opportunity for a hip replacement."
No reparation was sought, as Ludwig would be unable to pay it, Judge Ronayne said.
"Your motivation was greed and lifestyle, nothing more, nothing less."
Victims clapped after the judge handed down the sentence.