Auckland fraudster gets seven years
Fri, 19 Oct 2012 11:19a.m.
By Tony Field
A financial adviser who stole millions from her clients has been sentenced to seven years and five months in prison.
Jacqui Bradley, 61, was found guilty last month of defrauding around $15.5m from 28 of her clients, many of them her friends.
Judge Chris Field said that for seven years Bradley and her late husband Mike operated what was a “classic Ponzi scheme”, with money used to pay out earlier investors and to fund the Bradley’s own living expenses.
He said the investors were often close personal acquaintances who considered themselves friends.
Bradley was convicted of 75 charges under the Crimes Act, including theft by a person in a special relationship and dishonestly using a document. She was found guilty by a jury last month.
Bradley was originally charged with her husband Mike, but he passed away last year aged 63, weeks before they were due to go to trial.
Judge Field said he considered the pair to be equally culpable. He told Bradley that many of the investors were in their late 60s and early 70s and had been hurt emotionally and financially. Many were now in dire financial straits and could not afford to participate in family activities, like buying gifts for their grand children.
He had taken seven years and nine months as a starting point for her sentence, but took into account her age, previous good character and character references written by 18 friends.
Before the sentence was passed, Crown lawyer Kristy McDonald QC had told the court that this was “top-end offending” and she sought a starting point for sentencing of eight-and-a-half years in prison.
She said there were very few mitigating factors and Bradley’s offending was “considered, deliberate and pre-meditated”. The offending was a serious breach of trust, the deception was sophisticated and the losses were substantial.
Virtually all of the investors lost money. The Crown submitted that none of their money was put into legitimate investments, and false documents were created to mask the offending.
The Crown told the court that Bradley came across to the investors as believable, and she preyed on the vulnerability of some if those investors.
It argued that Bradley was motivated by greed, using the money to pay for school fees, an expensive bach and the mortgage payments on the couple’s Remuera home.
Towards the end of their offending, the Bradleys were using credit cards to pay out investors. The Crown said that was a sign of their desperation.
The Crown also disputed the defence’s argument that Bradley was not the mastermind behind the offending, telling the court that she was a significant, if not the most significant player behind the offending, which occurred after Mike had suffered a heart attack.
Bradley's lawyer Ron Mansfield had sought a sentence of between five and six years.
He told the court that although some investors had testified that Bradley was the prime offender, they had not said this when first questioned by investigators, prior to the death of her husband. He said this was not a submission that “came from the dance of the desperate”, rather it was a submission of fact.
He said that Mike was working fulltime as a financial adviser, and that Bradley only returned to the business after her husband suffered a heart attack. He submitted that Mike was the prime mover in the business and he made the decisions about where money was invested.
He accepted that Bradley was involved in client management, but submitted that she was not the mastermind or prime mover of the offending.
He also disputed that the offending was motivated by greed. He said there were some poor investment decisions, and even some in which the Bradleys themselves were defrauded. He said the offending began when Mike attempted to mask poor investments that he’d made.
He accepted there had been a breach of trust, but said that the investors were intelligent people who sought high returns, some of whom had their own advisers and who could have invested elsewhere.
Mr Mansfield said that although she still denied the charges she felt remorse for the losses suffered by the investors.
The Crown disputed that the investors had other people to rely on for advice, saying the Bradleys were their advisers.
Judge Field said he could see no evidence that Bradley’s role was any less than her husband’s.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
19/10/2012 7:23:53 p.m.
oh great that should stop the crime in nz,yeah right you get a less of a sentance for murder,this country must be a laughing stock for the rest of the world
19/10/2012 1:14:06 p.m.
So 7 years for fraud, but only 6 years for murdering an innocent child. Typical NZ Justice System. Oops sorry, what justice system?
19/10/2012 12:10:15 p.m.
I am glad she went to prison for 7 years. But how come older men found guilty of similar crimes get a couple of years home detention ?? Will the next guy get 7 year??
On the June 6, after rugby training, someone hit Stephen Dud...
New Zealanders are today bracing for a polar blast which wil...
New Zealanders are preparing for the worst as an oncoming po...
ACC levies have gone down under this government, but at what...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.