Fund fraudster gets 8 years

| 26/10/2010

(CNS): Robert Christopher Girvan was handed an eight year prison term by Justice Alex Henderson on Tuesday at the conclusion of his two day sentencing and confiscation hearing. Girvan, the former director, trader and fund manager of a collection of four Cayman Islands based hedge funds from which he stole more than $19 million, had pleaded guilty to over 21 counts of theft, fraud and money laundering as part of a complex web of deceit, woven to disguise a spiral of losses suffered by the funds. As he awarded the eight years for each of the offences which are to run concurrently, Henderson told the court that in such cases the issue of deterrence was of “paramount” importance in the sentencing.

The offences all occurred between 2004 and 2009 when Girvan was the portfolio manager of a number of funds established by Naul Bodden, his business partner, and known collectively as the Grand Island Funds. Henderson said Girvan appeared to have had a free hand over the funds and had raised money from people to invest in the funds with the promise of impressive returns.

“His skills proved insufficient to the task,” Henderson said, as he described how Garvin began to misappropriate the money in the funds to try and concealhis losses.

The court had heard from Girvan’s own defence attorney, Ben Tonner, that as he began stealing from the funds in an effort to trade his way out of his earlier losses he was forced to conceal each loss with more misappropriation and deception, which led to the need to further conceal, and eventually the scheme spiralled out of control.

The offending therefore persisted for a significant period of four to five years and Girvan falsified bank statements and other documents, forged signatures of his business partner Bodden and transferred money through a complex web of accounts and commercial entities. Along with the millions of dollars which Girvan transferred into the trading accounts for the unauthorized trading, significant sums were also transferred to his personal accounts and used for real estate investments.

Of the almost $19 million that Girvan stole over the more than four year period, some $9 million was lost in unauthorized trading that Girvan could not bring himself to reveal to anyone.

Henderson pointed to the issues of trust in this case and the losses the investors had suffered as a result of Girvan’s major fraud. While some were sophisticated investors, aware of the high risk nature of such funds, some were not and he pointed to one investor who had trusted the defendant with her entire divorce settlement.

As he explained his sentence, Henderson said that there were no distinguishing features about Girvan’s particular offence compared to other similar cases that had been sighted during the hearing as authorities, but for the one notable exception of the significant sums involved.

Henderson said that he had to take into account all the traditional principles of sentencing, such as deterrence, safety of the public, punishment and rehabilitation but in this case, he said, deterrence was of paramount consideration. He indicated that he believed an appropriate starting point for the sentence was 11 years, but as Girvan had pleaded guilty he gave what he said was an appropriate discount, reducing the sentence to 8 years.

The judge also had made an order on Monday that more than $4.4 million be confiscated from Girvan after he realized his assets. He was given an 18 month time period in which to pay that sum back to the authorities. Henderson also made a deportation order for Girvan to be returned to Jamaica at the end of his sentence.

As he concluded his sentencing ruling, the judge pointed to the fact that Girvan had admitted his crime but had fallen short of offering his full cooperation to the police. Henderson said the investigators on the case, however, had done a good job in unravelling the complex web of financial transactions.

The FCU spent some eighteen months on the case, which eventually revealed the extent of Girvan’s crimes. Richard Clarke, the investigating officer, who was in court to hear the verdict, told CNS that an official statement regarding the result would be released by the RCIPS shortly.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Too much greed on this island.  You see all kind of expensive cars on the road and big mansions being built…..I bet there are more people like him out there!!

  2. JUNKY says:

    It’s A Cry’n Shame!!


    What happend to our Court system.

    Trust me it sucks!!! Just image been caught with drugs or a gun you are automatically sentence to LIFE in Prison.

    And look at all that money that thief stole, and he got a short vacation @ our prison. We the poor peep’s have to work so hard to earn two pennis to help feed criminals like him.

    Wake up and stop the fairyism, what’s good for the geese should be good for the gander.

  3. Anonymous says:

    And poor lil Dorian got 16 yrs? Hmmmmmmmm

  4. Anonymous says:

    CNS thank you for printing the judge’s reasoning. It is refreshing to read that deterrence was considered in this decision and an appropriate sentence was handed down. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    well that’s one down, let us hope that they can do the same with the other one (his friends & all). Let us clean up & get all of these fraudsters!

  6. Curious Colin says:

    I find it really hard to believe that this man alone, managed to embezzle 19m over five years without all of these so called experts such as the administrators, auditors and other directors suspecting a thing. I hope Mr Girvan will be tempted to tell his story from his jail cell. I for one am beyond curious and i can’t be the only one.

    • anonymous says:

      There was a line in the story that struck me. it related to $9 million in trades that girvan would not reveal to anyone. If this is the case how do we know that this money is really "gone"? sound suspicious.

      But if this statement is true he should have received the full 11 year sentence for non cooperation.

      is this one person the only individual responsible for this massive fraud over a 5 year period?

      What responibility do the other directors have? were the other individuals ordinary laypeople (non sophisticated financial people) who could be hoodwinked like this?

      How much did the other directors invest and loose?



    • Chris Johnson says:

      The other parties involved were probably not acting fraudulently they were just totally in breach of their fiduciary duties, negligent, reckless and turned a blind eye. Whilst no criminal charges can be made one would hope that some form of civil charges can be made. Let us wait and see. Of course in most jurisdictions delinquent directors are presecuted but here there is no directors disquaification law. It is about time we had one but try convince the hedge fund directors of that!