Investor Defrauded of Millions Awarded His Money Back by High Court

There is no such thing as a risk-free investment, but if you are induced to part with your money by deceit a good lawyer will help you get it back. Exactly that happened in the case of an engineer who was hoodwinked into ploughing a seven-figure sum into overseas projects on the bogus promise of spectacular returns.

The engineer had a large sum of money to invest after realising certain assets and entrusted over $2.3 million to a company on the basis that it would be invested in highly profitable infrastructure projects. He was told that he could anticipate a return of up to 125 per cent per annum. His money was in fact transferred to a fund which was subsequently liquidated, losing all of its value.

With a view to recovering his money, he launched proceedings against the company, its owner and one of the latter’s associates. In upholding his claim against all three of them, the High Court found that he had been duped into investing his money by a series of fraudulent statements which amounted to a conspiracy to deceive.

His money had been placed without his authority into the fund, from which it was later misappropriated by a person or persons unknown. However, it had not been proved that it ultimately found its way into the pockets of the company’s owner or his associate. Although the extent and grandeur of the company’s past successes had probably been exaggerated to him, the Court found that it was more than a mere shell when he invested in it.

Both men had, however, shown a reckless disregard for the truth and had made false, dishonest and deceitful statements upon which the engineer relied. The associate had misrepresented his role within the company and exploited his friendly relations with the engineer in order to part him from his money. The engineer had also been falsely led to believe that the company was in some way connected to, or sponsored by, the US Federal Reserve Bank. The company, its owner and his associate were jointly and severally liable for the engineer’s loss and were ordered to pay him more than $3.3 million in damages and interest.