Unlicensed Lawyer Loan Case Goes to Trial

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A Queensland lawyer who set up a bogus diamond trade, selling payday loans to vulnerable people, has lost his appeal to renew his license.

Robert Legat, former director and legal adviser to Fast Access Finance (FAF) in Queensland, was investigated for the scheme, which authorities say involved Legat taking advantage of vulnerable customers who approached his firm for short-term loans.

Queensland solicitor Robert Legat.Credit:LinkedIn

Instead, customers were offered the opportunity to purchase, on credit, diamonds that were held off-site, according to investigating officials.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission banned Legat in September 2017 for its role in conceiving the plan.

The diamond model has been the subject of several court hearings, including the Federal Court in 2015 and 2017.

Customers would sign a privacy law consent form, which recorded that the customer had requested to “borrow a certain amount of money,” and then sign other forms, including a contract to purchase diamonds.

A screenshot of the Fast Access Finance website in 2012. It has since been removed.

A screenshot of the Fast Access Finance website in 2012. It has since been removed.Credit:fastaccessfinance.com.au

The purchase price was $250 per diamond.

The diamonds would then be sold to another company, Diamond Clearing House Pty Ltd, for half the purchase price, with the customer receiving cash.

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