Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Solicitor Jailed over Fraud

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Solicitor Jailed over Fraud

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate McKenna and Sarah Motherwell

FORMER high-profile crim- inal lawyer Tim Meehan has been sentenced to 5.5 years in jail for crimes a judge says have brought the legal profession into disrepute.

In sentencing the 41-year- old in the Brisbane Supreme Court, Justice Roslyn Atkin- son said his actions served to "feed the public perception that lawyers are greedy and self-serving".

Meehan, whose clients included Daniel Morcombe's killer Brett Peter Cowan pleaded guilty last month to one count of aggravated fraud of more than $30,000 and eight counts of fraudul- ently falsifying records.

The father-of-four collect- ed hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash payments from clients to dodge finan- cial reporting and bankrupt- cy obligations, before trying to hide his tracks by falsify- ing records.

The court heard Meehan alleged two colleagues, "S1" and "S2," were also involved in the scheme - claims they deny.

Justice Atkinson said the Crime and Corruption Com- mission investigation only kicked off after Meehan came to the watchdog last September - a month after he was sacked from the law firm - and confessed.

"There was no investigat- ion at the time that you did that," she said.

"Your admissions largely related to matters that the investigators did not know about, and could not know about.

"So the charges against you are based in no small part on what you told investigators...and that is very much to your credit."

The court heard that following the collapse of another law firm in late 2011, Meehan claimed "S1" decided they should stagger their bankruptcy proceedings so Meehan could continue to represent a "high-profile" client without any issues.

Director of Public Prosec- utions Michael Byrne said, while bankrupt, Meehan and "S1" were exposed to the possibility that half of earn- ings above $70,000 would be seized and distributed among creditors. …

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