Bridgecorp investors 'disgusted' at Petrocevic sentence
Thu, 26 Apr 2012 6:07p.m.
By Tony Field
Former Bridgecorp managing director Rod Petricevic has received the longest sentence handed out to any convicted finance company boss – six-and-a-half years in jail – after being convicted of 18 charges of misleading investors and making false statements.
Petricevic entered the dock at the Auckland High Court today knowing he was going to prison; the only question was for how long.
Justice Venning said he was not convinced Petricevic had shown genuine remorse.
“You may be sorry the investors lost their money but that is not true remorse… you do not accept responsibility for those losses,” he said to Petricevic.
“You still apparently do not consider you did anything wrong. You maintain your innocence.”
Bridgecorp collapsed in July 2007, owing $459 million to 14,500 investors. Those investors find little comfort in knowing Petricevic will be eligible for parole after about a third of his sentence.
Investor Barry Keon says he is “disgusted” at the sentence, saying Petricevic had “made a purgatory of my life”.
Another investor, Ross Fountain, says the sentence is reasonable “by New Zealand standards”.
“We don’t go into enormous sentences like they do in America, and I think that is probably reasonable,” he says.
Petricevic made false statements in investment documents, saying Bridgecorp had not defaulted on any interest or principal repayments.
He was believed, and the company received almost $120 million from investors after those statements were made.
Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey said Petricevic’s actions were “very cynical”.
“If people knew you were not actually paying back the last group of investors when you are putting your money in, it's hard to imagine any money would have come in,” he said.
“You are getting to almost Ponzi scheme level at that point.”
Mr Fountain says the authorities also need to take a hard look at the trustees who oversaw the finance companies.
“The ironic part is that the taxpayers will be looking after [Petrocevic’s] accommodation and food for the next three or four years, or for however long he is in prison,” he says.
“It's a pity his trust couldn't be channelled into paying for his time in prison.”
Petricevic will serve the first part of his sentence at a prison in the Auckland region, because he needs to be near the city for his September fraud trial.
Among the allegations is a charge that $1.8 million of investors' money was used to buy and maintain a luxury yacht.
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27/04/2012 8:33:54 a.m.
This isn't about greedy investors. It is about greedy bankers who ripped off hard working people, through fraud. If someone took all my savings in this manner they wouldn't be driving a nice new Porsche. Trust laws mean this guy's family are still wealthy while others have nothing. I am surprised at the lame comments on this story. The guy is a jerk.
27/04/2012 8:00:20 a.m.
Mike B wrote:
Agree with Bob Roberts. People where greedy and reckles and looking for that "high" return, when it is a known fact that high returns equals high risk. There is no such thing as an easy buck. Don't cry now!!!
27/04/2012 3:43:14 a.m.
Bob Roberts wrote:
I'm glad all those people lost money in this and other finance companies. They thought they were so smart getting 1, at most 2% higher interest than a term deposit from a regular bank. It was the investor's responsibility as a purchaser to weigh up the risk:reward ratio.
26/04/2012 8:11:29 p.m.
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