Ross 'will emerge with nothing'

HAMISH MCNICOL
Last updated 05:00 12/06/2014
ross house

HAPPY DAYS: David Ross's Days Bay beach house will be sold to pay creditors, but his wife has just purchased a new house with her brother, worth $725,000.

david ross
CHRIS SKELTON/Fairfax NZ
FOUND GUILTY: David Ross in court.

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Fraudster David Ross will emerge from his prison term "with nothing", his lawyer has told the High Court - but actually it would seem he has a newly bought $725,000 house waiting for him.

Lawyer Gary Turkington was appealing against Ross's minimum non-parole period of five years and five months yesterday, saying it was "unreasonably crushing" and "manifestly excessive".

He questioned the point of such a lengthy minimum term for a man in his "twilight years", and it would mean Ross, 64, dwelling without hope in prison.

"He'll emerge with nothing," Turkington told the High Court at Wellington, as he sought a minimum non-parole period of four years.

But Ross's wife, Jillian, has recently bought a house in Lower Hutt, with her husband's initials appearing on the phone listing in the White Pages.

Property records showed Jillian Ross bought the home with her brother for $725,000.

Ross was jailed for 10 years and 10 months for running a fraudulent scheme in which private investors lost about $115 million.

His company, Ross Asset Management (Ram), fleeced more than 700 investors through portfolios in which they thought they had more than $380m.

Ram Investors Group head Bruce Tichbon said the evidence suggested Jillian's house was intended for Ross to live in as well, which left him "absolutely heartsick".

"We really don't believe we will know if the man is a king or a pauper until he gets out of jail and we see just how he lives.

"Then we will know whether he has truly surrendered all his assets for the benefit of his victims, or whether he's just been running a cruel joke."

Tichbon said Ross's appeal "smacks of crass insincerity", and many of his victims would die destitute without ever knowing the final outcome of the Ram fallout.

"I hope I outlive the bastard."

Turkington told the court Ross would be 68 by the time he was eligible for parole, when he would be "well into his twilight years".

But Crown lawyer Mathew Downs said there was little to commend Ross's case, given the unprecedented scale of his offending and the profound impact it had had on his victims.

"Many of those people are also in their twilight years."

Justices Venning, French and Mallon reserved their decision.

The listing for Jillian Ross's four-bedroom, two-bathroom house described it as "the best of old and new", praising its elegant refurbishment, tasteful decor and top-quality fixtures and fittings.

Earlier this year, Jillian Ross pocketed nearly $900,000 from the sale of the family's former $2.2m mansion in Woburn Rd.

She and Ross were jointly indebted to Ram for $3.49m when the company collapsed, but the debt was settled with liquidators PwC for half the family home, as well as two other properties.

When The Dominion Post visited Jillian at the new home recently, a 2007 BMW hatchback was in the driveway. Another car, which her husband has previously been seen driving, was also at the house.

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She declined to comment.

- The Dominion Post

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