The Financial Markets Authority is charging five former directors of Viaduct Capital and Mutual Finance under the Crimes and Companies Acts.
Both companies went into receivership in 2010, with Viaduct owing $7.8 million and Mutual owing $9.3 million to investors.
They include Paul Bublitz, Bruce McKay, Richard Blackwood and Lance Morrison and one other who is seeking name suppression.
They are charged with theft in a special relationship and making false statements in a prospectus, which carry maximum sentences of between 7 and 10 years in prison.
Viaduct directors have also been charged with making false statements to the company's trustee.
Charges were also filed the former Viaduct director Nicholaas Wevers, but they were withdrawn after he died.