Investor shows compassion to elderly fraudster

Last updated 05:00 21/12/2012

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An investor who lost $12,000 wants the man responsible to put something back into the community he deceived.

David Davidson is one of 12 investors who have never seen a cent of the $243,000 they entrusted to Peter Jonathan Rens, 73, more than six years ago.

In the Napier District Court yesterday, a jury took just one hour to find Rens guilty of 12 charges of theft by a person in a special relationship.

In 2004, Rens joined the Hawke's Bay Gliding Club and told other members how they could make money on the financial markets.

His gliding instructor gave him $11,000 to invest in the sharemarket. Within the next year another 11 people had given Rens a total of $243,000.

In 2006, the investors started asking where their money was.

Rens told some that it was "frozen" in American trading companies, and others that trading was being held up because the lawyers and accountants he used in Uruguay were closed during the holiday season.

Crown prosecutor Steve Manning said Rens also forged a document stating that the investments had grown to $1 million.

A few months later, he left Hawke's Bay without telling investors where he was going.

Rens' lawyer, Bill Calver, said it was a "real possibility" that his client, too, had been a victim of fraud, or that the money had got lost in his "overcomplicated" systems.

Rens was remanded on bail till February for sentence. The South Africa-born man surrendered his passport to the police.

Mr Davidson told The Dominion Post yesterday that he took his missing money "on the chin" because he knew at the time that it was a high-risk investment.

He hoped Rens would get community work instead of jail so he could put something back into the community he had deceived.

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- The Dominion Post

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