News National Ex-lawyer scammed $12m from deathbed clients

Ex-lawyer scammed $12m from deathbed clients

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Philip Linacre, 61, has pleaded guilty to 26 charges of deception relating to 17 investors from 2000 to 2012.

The charges mainly related to Linacre falsely representing where client’s funds would be invested, but also for failing to pay clients trust money.

The Victorian Supreme Court heard Linacre set up a “Ponzi” scheme whereby investors, some of whom had invested millions, believed their money was going to a high-return mortgage investment scheme.

But while they received interest payments, they never got back the large sums invested, prosecutor Ray Elston SC said on Monday.

One victim said Linacre continued to “steal” from her and her husband until after her husband’s death from cancer, according to her statement Mr Elton read to the court.

Linacre, of St Kilda, handed in his practising certificate to the Legal Services Board in July 2012, admitted he acted dishonestly.

He told police his actions were “stupid in the extreme”, saying he was hoping to find a miraculous solution.

“I just didn’t know when the end was going to come,” he said.

“I just kept hoping there’d be a solution.”

Linacre surrendered himself into police custody as a sign of his remorse, defence barrister Ian Hill QC said.

“He behaved shamefully and disgracefully against his clients,” he said.

“It is known to him.”

The pre-sentence hearing is continuing.