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R v Robertson [2019] NZHC 2773

30 October 2019


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Sentencing of Steven Robertson (PTT Limited) on 23 charges of theft by a person in a special relationship; 11 charges of obtaining by deception; and four charges of dishonest use of a document. Robertson operated various companies that sold software programmes to members of the public to assist them to trade in financial markets. Under the (false) guise that he would invest the money on their behalf, Mr Robertson stole significant sums of money from 22 mostly elderly and unsophisticated clients. He also falsely purported to sell a number of these clients shares in one of his associated companies, but simply used the funds for his own purposes, including funding a lavish lifestyle. Finally, on a few occasions, he stole money directly from client's credit card accounts. HELD: Starting point of seven years imprisonment adopted. Discount of four months (5%) for the provision of a binding undertaking not to oppose the distribution of his assets, and those of his family trust, to his creditors. Given the significant harm to the victims (many of whom now faced serious financial difficulties in retirement) and the need for deterrence of this type of offending, the Judge imposed a minimum period of imprisonment (MPI). On each charge Mr Robertson was sentenced to six years and eight months' imprisonment, to be served concurrently. An MPI of three years and four months' imprisonment was imposed on each charge.

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