New Zealand forex broker Russell Maher jailed over $1.55m fraud
06 Jul 2020

A foreign exchange broker who defrauded his clients of $1.55 million by using forged documents has been jailed.

Russell Maher appeared today in the Auckland District Court and was sentenced by Judge Russell Collins to three years and four months’ imprisonment.

The 53-year-old had been charged and later pleaded guilty to 47 representative counts of using forged documents after an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The charges were over activity at Forex Brokers Limited (FBL), through which Maher provided foreign exchange services.

The SFO said Maher sought to maintain client confidence in his business by forging documents, which misrepresented the timing of foreign currency transactions he conducted on behalf of his clients. In doing so he concealed the deteriorating financial position of FBL.

The court had earlier heard the amount of money linked to the fraud – which targeted mostly used-car importers – was disputed.

The SFO alleged some $3m was lost, while Maher argued it was less than $1m.

In a statement, Julie Read, the SFO’s director, said: “Mr Maher’s dishonest, repetitive and premeditated offending resulted in significant financial losses to his clients. He abused his position of trust to create the illusion that his business was successful when it was not.

“Such deceitful behaviour damages New Zealand’s reputation as a safe place to invest and do business.”

The SFO previously described Maher’s crimes as “arrogant”.

Maher had operated FBL from 1995 until 2017. He was the sole director and shares of the company were held by him and his wife.

Car yards and other importers used FBL’s services.

The SFO began investigating FBL in 2017 after it collapsed and $500,000 in bullion was found in an office safe and creditors were reportedly owed $15m.

By Sam Hurley, New Zealand Herald, 6 July 2020

Read more at New Zealand Herald

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