The Serious Fraud Office has laid charges against foreign exchange trader Christopher John Collecutt, alleging he used money friends, family and others invested with him for personal use.
"Many of Mr Collecutt's investors were family and friends, and this highlights the fact that a personal connection with the promoter of an investment opportunity is no substitute for careful research into the risks associated with any type of investment," said SFO chief executive Adam Feeley.
Collecutt, 57, who traded foreign currency on behalf of 73 investors, faces three charges of theft by a person in special relationship, obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception, and false statement by a promoter.
It is alleged that a total of 59 investors lost about $1.48 million through investing with Collecutt, who operated under the name CFX Trading.The SFO alleges that figures in weekly investment reports emailed to investors from late 2008 onwards were false, that commission income was calculated on false profits, and that investor funds were used for personal use.
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