Exchange trader guilty of $1.5m fraud
A foreign exchange trader who duped friends and family out of $1.5 million has pleaded guilty to fraud charges.
Christopher John Collecutt, 57, pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court to obtaining by deception, theft by a person in a special relationship and making false statements.
Collecutt solicited $1.5 million from 59 investors, mostly friends and family, using his firm CFX Trading between 2007 and August last year.
Serious Fraud Office chief executive Adam Feeley said: "Mr Collecutt cynically, and effectively, exploited his personal relationships with investors. His family and friends have learned a difficult lesson that great care is needed before investing large sums with others, no matter what their connection is with the promoter."
Feeley said the case showed investors needed to keep vigilant to prevent affinity fraud.
"While the finance company collapse may have eroded the public trust in some investment opportunities, it has created a niche market in affinity fraud for those wanting to criminally exploit the trust of their family; friends; work colleagues; or other associates."
Feeley said the growth of social media made such frauds easier: "Social media exacerbates the risk in this area as relationships established through Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites give victims a level of trust and confidence in people proposing investments that is completely disproportionate to their knowledge of that individual."
Collecutt will be remanded in custody from next week ahead of a sentencing hearing on December 14.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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