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Daily fraud update: 26th February

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Shamed forex broker Kelvin Wood appeals prison sentence

A foreign exchange broker who was put in prison over allegations that he operated a Ponzi scheme is looking to appeal his sentence.

Kelvin Wood has been given a prison term of six and a quarter years over his role in the scam, which had a value of $7m.

He was handed the sentence in July of last year.

Now, however, Wood – who is aged over 70 – is looking to appeal the sentence.

The case is being heard at the Court of Appeal.

Part of the appeal centres on the minimum imprisonment period which Wood – who has now been made bankrupt – was given.

According to his lawyer, this is not necessary in Wood’s case.

His lawyer also highlighted the fact that Wood had made significant efforts to work alongside the authorities in his case.

She pointed out that Wood chose to voluntarily declare the fraud back in 2017 by approaching a regulator in the country, the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).

When he did that, he said that around 20 of his clients were owed a significant sum of investment cash totalling around $8m.

It is believed that one individual in particular lost over $1.5m.

Upon hearing this, the regulator passed on the case to the country’s Serious Fraud Office.

Wood operated firms called Forex NZ Ltd and Forex NZ 2000 Ltd.

It is believed that his son was also involved in the companies for some time.

On the subject of his appeal, however, prosecutors appeared to disagree with Wood’s lawyer – and they pointed to the fact that the crime was carried out over an extended period.

Three judges – Justice Denis Clifford, Justice Simon France and Justice Graham Lang – will make the decision on Wood’s case.

However, they will not do so until later in 2020.

Warren Buffett: I don’t own any crypto

Famous global investor Warren Buffett has confirmed that he does not own any cryptocurrency – and that he never will.

The investor, who is known for his firm Berkshire Hathaway and who is currently the world’s fourth wealthiest individual, was being interviewed by a reporter from news network CNBC when he made the remarks.

“I don’t own any cryptocurrency”, he said in the interview.

“I never will… You can’t do anything with it except sell it to somebody else.”

He also passed comment on the potentially fraudulent or criminal uses of crypto.

“Bitcoin has been used to move around a fair amount of money illegally”, he said.

“Cryptocurrencies basically have no value”, he added.

The topic arose following a discussion of a meeting between Buffett and Justin Sun, who is a well-known advocate of cryptocurrencies.

Sun, who is the CEO of a firm called Tron, had asked Buffett to think about buying some cryptocurrency – but it is believed that Buffett responded negatively.