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Client drags advice firm, advisers to court

A woman has dragged an advice firm and its leads to court, claiming they took control of her bank accounts and misappropriated about $1.4 million of her money.

Danusia Giam is seeking compensation from Melinda and Robert Patterson and three related companies. Their company 8888 Group provided accounting, wealth advice and financial planning to her between 2013 and 2015.

Despite shuttering, Spectrum Wealth is still listed as the firm's licensee on its website, however the ASIC Financial Adviser Register shows Robert Patterson as a representative of Life Plan FP.

Giam claims the duo won her trust by posing as her friends, pretending to involve her in the business (including as an employee) and making her feel part of a luxurious lifestyle.

However, they took control of her bank accounts and fraudulently misappropriated about $1.4 million, and caused her about $1.3 million in losses from certain property transactions, Giam claimed in court documents.

The relationship between the two parties lasted from mid-2013 to August 2015, when Giam and her son claim to have discovered some of the fraud and broke off the relationship.

The proceedings commenced in November 2016. Last October, they were set for 10 days of hearings to start on 25 May 2020.

The Pattersons contend Giam's claims and say they gave her no advice and that she entered all the transactions willingly.

They filed two applications since to have the May 25 hearing date vacated and reschedule to September or October, citing limitation of cross-examination during forced video proceedings as a result of COVID-19 and then mental health conditions of one of the defendants.

However, a New South Wales Supreme Court judge dismissed the most recent application yesterday and the matter will return to hearings on May 25.

Read more: Advice
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