(CMR) New Zealand economist Kelly Tonkin, who ripped off at least 100 people by falsifying the net value of his Cayman-registered fund and forging an audit statement from BDO Cayman Islands to cover his tracks, was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years by a court in his homeland on Tuesday, 21 December.
Tonkin (52) had pleaded guilty to one charge of false accounting, two of making false statements to cause losses or induce new investors, and one count of forging a fake audit letter.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Tonkin, the founder and chief executive of Penrich Capital, was sentenced at Christchurch District Court for what a judge called a “prolonged scheme of lies and deception.”
The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority canceled Tonkin's director’s license following his guilty plea earlier this year.
Judge Tony Couch earlier ruled that Tonkin, who established Penrich in 2004, was responsible for $80m in losses, including his own family and friends he had recruited into the fund, the New Zealand Herald reported.
The Penrich Global Macro Fund that Tonkin controlled had been performing poorly and was experiencing losses between September 2011 and March 2012. However, the court's record stated that in 2012 he began to “falsely record and report the net asset value of the fund to disguise the losses, retain current investments and/or keep receiving new investments.”
On Tuesday, Tonkin reportedly read an emotional letter to the court apologizing for all the hurt resulting from his “foolish, wrong and utterly dishonest” actions.
“I want to say sorry to all the people I've hurt,” he said, saying there was no excuse or explanation for why he chose to be dishonest.
He will have to serve at least four years and three months of the sentence before he is eligible for parole.