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Lawyer to repay $454,000

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NZ Lawyer | 24 Jun 2015, 10:37 a.m. Agree 0
A former partner of a top tier NZ firm acknowledged as an ‘innocent investor’ in a Ponzi scheme has been ordered to repay nearly half a million dollars in ‘fictitious gains’.
  • Cheryl Simes | 24 Jun 2015, 12:53 p.m. Agree 0
    So he made $500K profit which he knew had been fleeced from other 'investors', and he needed a Court to tell him to pay it back? (And he was not exactly hard up.) No wonder people don't think very much of lawyers. Does this constitute conduct bringing the profession into disrepute? (Don't answer that. Of course it doesn't. Greed is what we are supposed to be motivated by, and as long as it's 'legal', anything goes. The reputation of the profession is merely confirmed.)
  • Ken | 30 Jun 2015, 10:08 a.m. Agree 0
    actually he made $454k profit that he found out had been fleeced from other investors a year or so after he had committed it to another project. Like any person who founds themselves in that situation he was entitled to pursue a statutory defence which on the face of it looked pretty compelling. I take it any client in that position who came to see you Cheryl would get a lecture on morality rather than advice on their legal position?
  • Cheryl | 30 Jun 2015, 12:07 p.m. Agree 0
    I accept your correction - I rounded up the $ and the article did not mention the fact that the funds had been committed to another project, which I have since learnt of from other reports. If I were asked to provide a legal opinion I would advise on the law. The client then has the option of doing the right thing which may not be the same as maintaining their legal rights. If a lawyer in that position asked my views on what he should do, I would explore options with him. Just as with other clients who are embroiled in conflict or disputes.
  • Daniel | 03 Jul 2015, 01:14 p.m. Agree 0
    I always wonder when reading these comments if the writer spends even the slightest amount of time reflecting upon their own professional journey before pressing send .

    Matthew 7:1-3 may have some relevance.
  • Cheryl Simes | 06 Jul 2015, 11:51 a.m. Agree 0
    This writer has reflected long and hard about her own professional journey, not least after her 'colleagues' did their best to put her out of practice because she insisted that the law be complied with even if lawyers didn't like it. This writer is out of pocket by about $400K after upholding the rule of law, and doesn't have the equivalent or more in other savings. This writer also well understands that, where there is a conflict between the law and morality, the law prevails (in terms of what is compellable). That doesn't alter the fact that one always has an option to give more than the law requires, which is what relationship-property clients often decide to do, and also parents who are trying to make decisions for their children. This writer also finds it hard to accept that a senior lawyer did not apply the maxim, 'If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,' - but the same could apply to her own naivety in other areas, and Mr Ross was obviously very plausible.
  • Ken | 06 Jul 2015, 11:59 a.m. Agree 0
    Ross perpetrated a very plausible fraud over a long period of time. Almost doubling your money over four years through a share portfolio was good going but not suspiciously so during those years. Ross was not offering ludicrously implausible returns and like Madoff just seemed to be astute and doing better than other fund managers. The red flags were not there to be seen. Anyone caught up in the aftermath of a situation like that is entitled to plead a statutory defence. There is no doubting your sincerity but you really need to read the case before leaping into print with sweeping value judgements.
  • Cheryl Simes | 13 Jul 2015, 12:07 p.m. Agree 0
    NZ Lawyer forum invites 'positive industry interaction', and its story did not include the information you have provided. Perhaps there needs to be improved clarification of these points in the media because most readers will not read the case itself. Now, if someone comments adversely to me about Mr McIntosh's case, I can cheerfully tell them that it isn't that simple. Most people who make assumptions don't voice them, let alone check them. I don't regret voicing mine, because it has enabled clarification to be provided and thought to be provoked.
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