Update - 16 November 2023
Further to our statement on 31 October 2023, the Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner (VLSB+C) is aware that a number of investors have reported financial losses as a result of investing funds in a mortgage and loan business overseen by Mr John Adams (deceased) at AMS Lawyers, Ivanhoe.
We are also aware of allegations that mortgages have been fraudulently registered against some titles to properties.
Investors and other third parties who believe they may have suffered a loss as a result of, or associated with, Mr Adams’ loan business are encouraged to contact us via our Consumer Enquiry Form or phone 9679 8057, if they have not already done so.
We are continuing to undertake a preliminary assessment of the circumstances relating to the operation of the loan business. Among other tasks, we are considering:
- the nature of the loan business and its relationship to AMS Lawyers;
- the identities of the investors in the loan business and the amounts they invested;
- the circumstances in which they provided funds to the loan business;
- the returns, if any, they received; and
- whether there are funds remaining in the loan business.
This matter is very complex. We will endeavour to reach preliminary findings by the end of the year or in early 2024. We will make as much information available to relevant persons as we lawfully can.
It is important to be aware that our investigative powers enable us to conduct investigations into the affairs of a law practice with an emphasis on trust money, trust property or trust accounts. In the case of money/property that is not “trust money” or “trust property”, our powers are more limited. More information on trust money is available here.
Investors, or others, who believe they may have suffered a loss are strongly encouraged to obtain independent legal advice in relation to their specific situation. The choice of solicitors to engage is a matter for you. We cannot give advice or recommend a course of action or a lawyer who can assist. However we are aware that a number of law practices, including Gordon Legal, are currently representing individuals who believe they have suffered losses as a result of the conduct of Mr Adams.
We have received a number of enquiries in relation to whether we are appointing an External Intervener to AMS Lawyers. There are specific statutory criteria which must be met before we can make such an appointment, which are not currently satisfied.
31 October 2023
The Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner (VLSB+C) is aware of allegations of misappropriation of investment funds by Mr John Adams (deceased), of AMS Ivanhoe Lawyers. We are undertaking a preliminary assessment of the allegations, including liaising with the law practice and relevant third parties.
Our investigative and regulatory/enforcement action powers relate principally to trust monies within the meaning of the Uniform Law. To the extent that any investment business was not related to the provision of legal services and/or did not concern trust monies, we will have a limited capacity to respond. We are working with Victoria Police on this matter.
If you believe you may have suffered a financial loss as a result of investing with Mr Adams, please contact us by lodging a Consumer Enquiry Form, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 03 9679 8001.