BlackfortFX’s Jimmie McNicholl finally charged as administrator reveals size of Ponzi scheme

A man has appeared in the Christchurch District Court today on charges filed by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in relation to an alleged foreign exchange (Forex) trading scheme purportedly operated by Arena Capital Limited trading as BlackfortFX.

Jimmie McNicholl has been charged under the Crimes Act with one charge of ‘Obtaining by deception’.

Another person has been charged and is yet to appear on this matter.

The SFO alleges that BlackfortFX obtained registration as a financial services provider by deception. Between May 2014 and May 2015 BlackfortFX is alleged to have been used as a façade purporting to offer a Forex trading service/platform to potential investors.

The SFO alleges that BlackfortFX was a Ponzi scheme into which investors paid approximately $8.3 million when there was in fact, no trading undertaken.

In May 2015 the Financial Markets Authority obtained asset preservation orders which lead to the appointment of a receiver and a liquidator.

SFO Director, Julie Read said:

There are hundreds of potential victims in this scheme whose funds will be at risk. Following the efforts of the FMA to obtain asset preservation orders, the SFO investigation has concluded that there is a serious case to answer regarding the activities of these two people.”

Both defendants will next appear in the Christchurch District Court on 17 November.

The SFO acknowledge the assistance of the Financial Markets Authority in the initial stages of this investigation.

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