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Dominique Grubisa faces Federal Court in ACCC case

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(Image by Xavier Donovan)

The ACCC has taken property and law maven Dominique Grubisa to Federal Court after their investigation reveals "false or misleading" practices within her asset protection program.

ON 7 MARCH a case management hearing took place in relation to the Federal Court proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) against Dominique Grubisa and her company Master Wealth Control Pty Ltd, trading as DG Institute.

As we reported last month, Grubisa and DG Institute are being represented by Assure Lawyers. DG Institute recently moved from offices in Market Street to offices at 189 Kent Street, Sydney.

Who tagged along? Of course, Assure Lawyers.

However, there is a twist. On 1 March a document was filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) notifying that sole director Zeeshaan Nordien had resigned as the director of Assure Lawyers.

A search of the register of solicitors on the Law Society of New South Wales website shows Nordien no longer being at Assure Lawyers.

So, who has replaced Mr Nordien as the director of the company? James Lyons.

Readers of our previous stories regarding Grubisa might recall that we reported in July 2021 that Grubisa’s parents, who had been struck off as solicitors, had been giving legal advice using an email account that included the name, Lyons & Lyons. This is the former name of Lyons’ legal practice, now called Murphy Lyons

Avid readers might also remember that last October we reported about a company RER Lawyers Pty Ltd, which Grubisa incorporated shortly after her mother was struck off as a lawyer in 2013.

Lyons was apparently made a director of that company. However, the date of birth and address on ASIC records differed from that of other companies of which Lyons was a director. The document incorporating the company (which, according to ASIC records was signed by Grubisa) had Lyons' address listed as Grubisa’s current residential address.

Lyons told the Australian Financial Review he had no knowledge of the company, saying:

“This is the first I’m hearing of it. I know nothing about it.”

If Lyons was ever actually a director, he ceased to be so in 2019. On 5 September 2019, Grubisa’s husband Kevin signed and filed a "Form 484" with ASIC, notifying that Lyons ceased to be a director on 21 August 2019.

Not only has Lyons become the sole director of Assure Lawyers, but he has also purchased the 50 per cent of the company that was formerly owned by Nordien. Kevin Grubisa is the other shareholder.

IA can now reveal that in 2020, Lyons said he was aware of Grubisa’s father giving legal advice pretending to be Lyons’ law firm, Lyons & Lyons, for at least a year. Lyons failed to notify authorities despite knowing that Grubisa’s parents had been struck off as lawyers and were using his firm’s name improperly. 

Lyons had been contacted by the solicitor for another party to NSW Supreme Court proceedings and had been informed that there was a view that Lyons had a conflict of interest having allegedly previously given legal advice to the other party. Lyons claimed he had not given any advice, nor had he spoken to or met the person involved. He came to learn it was Grubisa’s father giving the advice. Lyons said he was ropable but did nothing about it.

The solicitor for the other side verified that he had indeed contacted Lyons about the issue and had taken him at his word.

Despite all this, Lyons has jumped in to become director and 50 per cent shareholder of Assure Lawyers and is now representing Grubisa in the ACCC proceedings. Lyons continues to run his own firm, Murphy Lyons.

As we said last November, something is rotten in the State of New South Wales — Grubisa be thy name. 

In the concise statement filed with the Federal Court, the ACCC asserts that during the period April 2017 to November 2022 at least 1,720 consumers enrolled in the Real Estate Rescue Program and at least 1,482 consumers enrolled in the MWC (asset protection program).

The ACCC asserts that in the promotional materials and program materials the “Vestey Trust” structure taught in the asset protection program:

'...would enable participants to protect all of their assets by setting up a specific trust called the Vestey Trust using the Transaction Documents provided by DG Institute which would provide complete protection from creditors.'

The ACCC further asserts this representation was:

'...false or misleading because the Transaction Documents do not provide a participant’s assets with asset protection from creditors.'

Grubisa was back at it this month with ads on Facebook promoting her asset protection webinar after Lyons’ appointment at Assure Lawyers. Advertisements on Facebook for her webinar on 4 March stated viewers could 'learn the TRUE way to protect [their] assets against creditors'.

(Source: Facebook advertisement online 3 March 2023)

Grubisa and DG Institute have until 28 March to file a response to the ACCC’s claims.

In the meantime, Dominique and Kevin Grubisa have a pre-trial review of a case brought by Knox Grammar School against them.

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