Alleged Ponzi-type scheme lost $15.5m

20:07, Aug 07 2012
Jacqui Bradley
ON TRIAL: Former B'On director Jacqui Bradley in the Auckland District Court.

Fear and greed were the two major factors which have an impact on investments, failed financial adviser and author Jacqui Bradley told one of her anxious clients in a letter, the court has heard.

Witness Robert Baldey, of the Bay of Plenty, has told the Auckland District Court that he and his wife had more than $400,000 invested with Bradley's B'On Financial Services but were getting nervous with the state of the world economy in 2008.

Bradley assured them by letter that their funds were secure, with most held in a capital guaranteed fund which protected their investment no matter what the market did.

Bradley's five-week trial on 75 theft and dishonesty charges began yesterday after the court had to adjourn it for a day due to a lack of jurors. She is facing the charges alone after the death last year of her husband and business partner, Michael. Their financial advisory business B'On collapsed in December 2009.

The Crown alleges the Bradleys ran a Ponzi-type scheme in which 28 investors lost $15.5 million over six-and-a-half years. Bradley denies all the charges.

The couple told investors their money was being put into Australia-based Macquarie Bank, New Zealand Government Stock or the capital guaranteed scheme Global Investment Service.

The Crown's case is that none of the funds were invested at all but used to "rob Peter to pay Paul". The Serious Fraud Office investigation which led to the charges shows they took investors' money to repay earlier investors and fund their lifestyle.

Baldey said yesterday his accountant had referred him to Bradley, who had published the investment book The Winning Woman under her maiden name, O'Neill, in 1988. Baldey and his wife invested $146,500 in late 1999 as part of their retirement plan and by May 2006 had more than $400,000 invested with B'On.

But as the global financial crisis picked up, he became worried about their investments and formally notified B'On they wanted to withdraw all funds on fixed-term deposits when they matured in May 2008. Fairfax NZ


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