The Securities Commission says the deteriorating cash balances of the failed finance company Bridgecorp were an indication of how bad things were.
Bridgecorp went into receivership in July 2007 owing $459 million to 14,500 investors.
A preliminary hearing for five men linked to the company, including its former executive director Rod Petricevic, began at the Auckland District Court on Monday.
Mr Petricevic, former chairperson Bruce Davidson, non-executive directors Peter Steigrad and Gary Urwin and executive director Rob Roest, face 10 charges each.
They are accused by the Securities Commission of giving untrue information in Bridgecorp's prospectuses and investment statements relating to the company's overall financial position and liquidity.
Mr Steigrad did not appear in court on Monday, but his lawyer says he has conceded there is a case against him.
The preliminary hearing, to decide whether a trial should be held, is continuing for the other accused men. The four were court on Monday surrounded by boxes of evidence.
Securities Commission lawyer Brian Dickey says Bridgecorp had $13.3 million in the bank in June 2006, but the situation deteriorated and the balance plummeted to just $16,000 by May the following year.