Millionaire recluse chasing funds from dead lawyer
RECLUSIVE millionaire Joseph "Will the Wrecker" Smith plans to pursue a Gold Coast lawyer for money thought to be taken to the grave of convicted fraudster Michael Yarwood.
Mr Smith claims Yarwood, a disgraced solicitor, mismanaged $5 million while holding power of attorney and running Mr Smith's car wrecking business.
Yarwood and Mr Smith were in a bitter legal battle over the running of Miami Motors when Yarwood was found dead in his Main Beach apartment in July last year. The death was not suspicious.
In the months before his death, Yarwood was ordered by the Supreme Court to pay Mr Smith $1.65 million, interest of $204,866 and court costs. Other court matters were ongoing at the time of his death.
Since Yarwood's death, Mr Smith and Miami Motors has sought permission to use documents filed in those proceedings for other matters.
Justice David Jackson granted that permission in a Supreme Court decision this week.
Justice Jackson noted that Yarwood had made a claim for almost $2 million against Mr Smith for management fees associated with a terminated contract at Miami Motors.
"(Mr Smith) defends the claim and with (Miami Motors) counterclaims the sum of $4,967,302 on a variety of grounds relating the unconscionable conduct, breaches of duty of an attorney holding powers of attorney … and breaches of the obligation…," the judgment said.
Justice Jackson noted Mr Smith and Miami Motors had flagged further legal action following Yarwood's death.
"(Mr Smith) and (Miami Motors) intend to start a further proceeding against a solicitor, David Allan Evans, for damages in connection with the loss of money they allege was caused by (Yarwood's) conduct," it is stated in the court documents read.
A copy of the proposed claims have been forwarded to Mr Evans, according to the court documents.
"The substance of the proceeding (Mr Smith) and (Miami Motors) propose to start against Mr Evans is that (Yarwood) in the present proceeding obtained payment of monies held by Mr Evans or his firm improperly and in circumstances where Mr Evans failed to obtain appropriate or necessary authority to pay the money to (Yarwood) or to give (Mr Smith) or (Miami Motors) appropriate advice," Justice Jackson said in his judgment.
After receiving the proposed claim Mr Evans asked for further information, including documents Yarwood had filed in the original court proceedings.
Justice Jackson ordered Mr Smith and Miami Motors be allowed to use the documents in their propose claim against Mr Evans.
It is not clear when the claim will be filed against Mr Evans.
A former Somerset College school captain, son of a respected financial commentator and young Liberal rising star, Mr Yarwood was admitted as a solicitor in January 1996.
In 2011 he pleaded guilty to fraud for a $236,227 scheme involving clients' stamp duty.
He only served nine months of a 4.5-year jail sentence.
In May 2015, QCAT found Mr Yarwood was "not a fit and proper person to engage in legal conduct" and he was stuck off as a lawyer.
Originally published as Millionaire chasing funds from dead lawyer