FMA charges Auckland man for allegedly taking money he told his clients he would invest for them, and withdrawing money from their credit card accounts without them knowing

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) is accusing an Auckland man of taking money he was meant to invest on behalf of his clients.

The regulator has filed criminal charges against Steven Robertson in the Auckland District Court under the Crimes Act 1961.

It alleges Robertson misappropriated funds deposited by clients who believed those funds were to be traded on their behalf, or were paid as consideration for the purported purchase of shares in PTT Limited or an associated entity. 

PTT Limited, which was put in liquidation in December 2015, sold trading signals for currency and commodity markets trading. According to a liquidator’s report, Robertson “personally generated these signals based upon his judgment and intuition, and not using any proprietary software or algorithms”.

The FMA also alleges that some clients had funds withdrawn from their credit card accounts without their authority and knowledge.

Robertson faces a total of 47 charges relating to PTT Limited and associated entities. These include:

  • 28 counts of theft by a person in a special relationship, under section 220 of the Crimes Act 1961. This carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment per charge.  
  • 11 counts of obtaining by deception under section 240 of the Crimes Act 1961. This carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment per charge.
  • 8 counts of dishonestly taking or using document under section 228 of the Crimes Act 1961. This carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment per charge.  

The FMA’s head of enforcement, Karen Chang, says: “The FMA will monitor and take enforcement action where it sees conduct on its perimeter that could harm investors or damage the reputation of New Zealand’s financial markets.”

Robertson was not an Authorised Financial Adviser or authorised or licensed by the FMA. However he held himself out as investing funds deposited with him by clients.

Asset Preservation Orders in connection with Robertson, PTT Limited and associated entities were sought and obtained in August 2015 in light of concerns investor funds may have been at risk. Thereafter PTT Limited and associated entities were placed in liquidation.

Robertson will appear in court on November 28.