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ACCC ends Grubisa's fraud and deceptions — and vindicates IA's long investigations

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A court decision has been made against the fraudulent behaviour of Dominique Grubisa (Screenshots via YouTube)

The Federal Court says two programs sold by Dominique Grubisa’s company involved false claims and she was knowingly involved, as IA reports.

IN BREAKING NEWS today, Justice Ian Jackman handed down his decision in the case brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) against Dominique Grubisa and her company Master Wealth Control Pty Ltd (MWC).

Justice Jackman found:

  • MWC engaged in conduct that was misleading or deceptive and made false or misleading representations in making the ‘Vestey Trust Representation’, ‘No Equity Representation’ and ‘Authority Representation’ that underpinned the ACCC case; and
  • Dominique Grubisa was knowingly concerned in the contraventions by MWC.

More detail about the specific representations can be found in the Concise Statement filed by the ACCC.

In his decision, Justice Jackman said he had not formed a high opinion of Grubisa’s legal competence and found she knew her conduct was misleading and deceptive.

The matter will now go to a separate hearing concerning penalties and other orders sought by the ACCC. The matter has been listed for a case management hearing on 23 April.

As noted in the ACCC media release regarding the proceedings, the ACCC is seeking injunctions, penalties, non-punitive orders (such as corrective publications and a compliance program) and non-party consumer redress orders against MWC.

The ACCC is also seeking an order to have Grubisa disqualified from managing a company for a period to be determined by the Court. Both Grubisa and MWC face penalties in the way of fines.

The decision is validation for those who spoke up against the misleading conduct of Grubisa and her business — people who spoke up for the clients she deceived. It is also validation for the considerable resources IA has dedicated to extensive investigations into Grubisa’s activities over nearly four years.

Grubisa has shown no visible remorse for the harm caused to those who believed her false claims. We can only agree with Max Mason who, in the Financial Review, said ‘shame doesn’t seem to be in the vocabulary’ of Grubisa.

Grubisa didn’t just deceive her clients, she rubbished those who called out her deception.

In a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald dated 27 November 2020, Grubisa wrote:

‘DG Institute is aware that there is an individual who has endeavoured to discredit, defame and harm DG Institute and me personally and that this individual, together with one former student of DG Institute, has embarked on a personal vendetta which has involved countless complaints to various regulatory bodies which have been dismissed or discarded.’

We suggest the people to whom she was referring were instead actually seeking to protect those she deceived — people who might lose their assets when they found out too late that Grubisa’s claims were false. And those who did.

Grubisa ignored concerns about her asset protection product raised with her lawyers nearly five years ago. Her response, when she found out that her former clients were getting independent advice, was to engage private investigators who falsely pretended to be disgruntled former clients of Grubisa’s business.

Grubisa’s lawyers went on the attack when these investigators were caught out. Her lawyers even threatened personal indemnity costs against the lawyer who called out her false claims. Grubisa went on the attack when she should have been stopping her misleading conduct.

But hey, it was a tactic that fraudster Elizabeth Holmes tried to shut up people who spoke the truth, so why wouldn’t Grubisa try the same? Grubisa just kept doubling down.

IA was also singled out by a separate firm of lawyers representing Grubisa. 

In a concerns notice of 5 August 2020, following the first story we published about Grubisa, her lawyers said that amongst the defamatory imputations they claimed were made:

‘There exist grounds for each of the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the NSW Law Society to investigate Ms Grubisa and DG Institute.’

Well, ASIC did investigate Grubisa and serious adverse findings were made about her conduct by AAT deputy president Bernard McCabe. ASIC said she had a ‘habit of not telling the truth’.

The Law Society of NSW has two current cases against Ms Grubisa, which involve very serious allegations of professional misconduct. The Family Court referred Grubisa’s conduct to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and according to A Current Affair, she is still a person of interest to the AFP.

In the AAT case involving ASIC and Grubisa, McCabe found that there likely was a contravention of section 121(2) of the Family Law Act regarding her distribution of lists of parties to proceedings in the Family Court. The very matter that the Family Court had referred to the AFP years ago.

The many stories that IA has published about Grubisa, her businesses and her family speak to a lot of deception, including:

There was also evidence of Grubisa using her parents (who were struck off as lawyers) to give legal advice and her father using a false name. Allegations of her falsifying client documents and filing a false document with ASIC.  

There was also the dodgy advice that Grubisa was giving regarding superannuation that resulted in a public warning from the Australian Tax Office and her dodgy advice regarding distressed businesses.

For Grubisa, it was a conspiracy of the system. Regulators seeking to stop her from sharing information the “system” didn’t want the public to know. She even went as far as producing a booklet called ‘Forbidden Knowledge’ that was plagiarised from a book of the same name — a booklet that contained very dodgy advice.

Yet, Grubisa has continued with self-aggrandisement in the face of countless examples of her dishonesty. She has continued to claim winning Stevie Awards that were rescinded in August 2022. She even rolled out a false quote from Mahatma Gandhi, claiming:

(Screenshot from since-deleted Vimeo video)

This self-described ‘consummate professional’ and ‘celebrated entrepreneur’ has not taken a backward step. Perhaps it is her narcissism. Perhaps it’s because she’s asked herself too many times, what would Donald Trump do in this situation?

Perhaps if only she’d read more legal cases, such as the real cases relating to the trust set up by the Vestey brothers in the 1920s or the Sharrment case that she would refer to as precedent for her strategy. It seems it would have been a better use of her time than reading the pop psychology wealth creation books her father bought for her

Grubisa said she had “never been a big one for formal education”. However, that might be pretty important if you want to proclaim yourself an ‘asset protection specialist’.

Such an expert was Grubisa that when her debt management business – now in liquidation – made representations to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) on behalf of a client, that material was plagiarised from an article from an academic from Griffith University.

Grubisa claimed in a podcast in 2018 that when she lost everything in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, at that time she “had no knowledge around debt except for basic legal knowledge”.

As for her expertise, in referring to an obvious flaw in the asset protection structure, Justice Jackman said:

That obvious flaw is a matter of common sense which would be readily appreciated by anyone with elementary legal knowledge. Ms Grubisa had successfully undertaken both a Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Laws degree, and had practised as both a solicitor and barrister for some years.

 

It is evident that Ms Grubisa did have actual knowledge of that obvious flaw and accordingly had actual knowledge of the false and misleading nature of the Vestey Trust Representations.

This decision is a long-awaited vindication of those who saw the harm and stood up in the public interest, people who now deserve a fulsome public apology from Grubisa.

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