A lawyer who defrauded a client out of $1.7million and tried to stage his own death for insurance money has been jailed for five years.

Brian Francis Maloney, 59, pleaded guilty to 13 charges of obtaining property by deception and one charge of theft in the Supreme Court of Victoria. Maloney convinced his client, wealthy businessman Tony Gatt, to loan money to third parties and he would act as a middle-man. Over five years, Maloney kept the cash for himself to make up for his debts.

    How it might have looked


The court heard that Maloney has since paid back $1.1 million, and he intended to pay the full amount back in full. He found himself spiralling into debt after he spent years working pro bono for a friend on a case which reportedly cost his business $2 million. In 2013 he planned to take his own life in a staged car crash, in the hope the insurance pay out would cover all his debts. By coincidence his son spotted him before it happened, and thereafter Maloney received psychiatric help.
 
Chief Justice Marilyn Warren acknowledged that Maloney suffered from severe depression, “which may explain in part your poor judgement” she said, but she added that his actions were “disgraceful” and “dishonest”. Maloney must serve at least three years in jail.  
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