After almost a year since he pleaded guilty, Russell Maher, a foreign exchange broker who defrauded clients of approximately NZ$1.55 million has been sentenced to three years and four months’ imprisonment, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of New Zealand announced this Monday.
Maher, the sole director of Forex Brokers Limited (FBL), was sentenced today in the Auckland District Court on 47 representative charges of ‘Using forged documents’ brought by the Serious Fraud Office.
Russell Maher pleaded guilty in 2019
In particular, he forged documents to maintain client confidence in his business. These fake documents misrepresented the timing of foreign currency transactions that he conducted on behalf of his clients, thus concealing the declining financial position of the brokerage.
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Commenting on the sentence, the Director of the SFO, Julie Read, said in the statement: “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.”
As Finance Magnates highlighted last year, through FBL, Maher managed to steal millions of dollars from his clients. The SFO alleges some NZ$3 million was lost. Maher, on the other hand, argued it was less than NZ$1 million.
Maher operated FBL from 1995 until 2017. He was the sole director of the FX broker and shares of the company were held by himself and his wife.
In New Zealand, the SFO is the leading law enforcement agency that investigates and prosecutes both serious or complex financial crime. This includes bribery and corruption.