Lawyer faces bankruptcy amid court action over failed investment

A Supreme Court writ filed by GP Building Holdings claims Mr Voitin agreed to acquire eight mortgages in June 2016 that would deliver a return of up to 13 per cent within nine months.

Mr Voitin is accused of transferring $38,500 from a trust account without authority, while also ignoring repeated requests to refund the initial investment, according to the writ.

»Voitin, in respect of the June (2016) representations and the subsequent representations, engaged in conduct that was misleading and deceptive,» the writ claims.

If the writ is successful, lawyers for GP Building Holdings are expected to seize several properties linked to Mr Voitin in Portsea, Frankston and a rural retreat in Heathcote.

They could also pursue Mr Voitin’s family home in Deepdene, which is owned by his wife, Clare Voitin, and was also raided in March last year by the Echo Taskforce and the national anti-gang squad. It is understood the Deepdene property was recently listed for sale.

Clare Voitin.

Clare Voitin.Credit:Jesse Marlow

Mr Voitin denies the investment was structured as a managed mortgage fund. In an affidavit, he claimed he negotiated the acquisition of units in the Second Life Retirement Fund Unit Trust during a series of meetings in the boardroom of Stanton Grant Legal.

Mr Voitin insists he had verbal authority to withdraw $38,500 in legal fees and provided the client with an itemised account, according to his affidavit.

He claims to have been unable to provide the plaintiff’s lawyers with several documents because they had been seized by liquidators or Echo detectives last year.

In 2015, Mr Voitin was charged with 171 counts of professional misconduct relating to trust money at his former firm Voitin Lawyers when discrepancies in his accounts were detected by the Law Institute of Victoria.

Mr Voitin pleaded guilty in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to 57 charges of professional misconduct for mixing trust monies and non-trust monies. He was reprimanded and banned from receiving trust monies for six months.

In 2013, The Age revealed Mr Voitin and his wife, who also uses the name Clare Sowersby, had allegedly engineered fraudulent lawsuits to protect the assets of financially troubled clients from genuine creditors.

Under the alleged scam, Ms Sowersby registered companies in Hong Kong, the Turks and Caicos Islands or China.

At the time, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission paid to have Mr Voitin interrogated under oath, while the Australian Financial Authority, which oversees bankruptcy proceedings, also mounted an inquiry.

The Victorian Legal Services Board was also aware of the fraud allegations against Mr Voitin, who escaped serious sanctions and continued to practise law.

He is an associate of self-described «forensic accountant» and high-interest lender David Graer, who was also raided by police last month. Mr Graer is a close associate of Comanchero president Mick Murray.

Senior Crime Reporter

Chris Vedelago is an investigations reporter for The Age with a special interest in crime and justice.

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