Faked email address leads to unqualified legal practice finding
April 18, 2017
A man who pretended to be a lawyer to pursue a debt has been found guilty of unqualified legal practice.
The Ringwood Magistrates’ Court found Mr Travis Davidson guilty of two charges of engaging in unqualified legal practice and one charge of representing an entitlement to engage in legal practice when he was not entitled to do so.
The Victorian Legal Services Board told the Court that in early 2016 Mr Davidson and his partner agreed to lend $30,000 to a mortgage broker. The loan was to be repaid one week after the loan was made, along with an additional $8,000 in interest.
When the mortgage broker failed to repay the money, Mr Davidson made attempts to recover it. At a pre-arranged conference with the broker, Mr Davidson claimed to be his partner’s legal representative and negotiated the debt on behalf of his partner.
Following the conference, Mr Davidson created a false email account bearing the name and branding of a well-known national law firm. He sent an email to the broker containing a demand for payment, and a threat of legal action if the debt was not paid. Mr Davidson signed off the email as an ‘Associate’ of the firm.
The Court acknowledged that Mr Davidson admitted to his offending and that he had fully co-operated with the Board’s investigation. Mr Davidson was placed on a six-month diversion order and ordered to donate $200 to the Magistrates’ Court fund. Mr Davidson was also ordered to provide a letter of apology to the Commissioner.