Pensioner facing prison

Jail likely: John Edward Moir has been warned his appeal against a 16-month sentence won't succeed.
Jail likely: John Edward Moir has been warned his appeal against a 16-month sentence won't succeed.

A District Court judge has warned an ex-Albury solicitor who ripped-off $200,000 from a client to now expect the worst.

Chris Hoy SC said an appeal by John Edward Moir against a 16-month jail term had no real merit and so would most likely fail.

But Judge Hoy did not dismiss the appeal when Moir, who will turn 74 next Thursday, appeared before him this week.

Instead, he gave Moir’s legal representatives time to gather any additional material that might support his position.

Moir remains free on bail until a decision is handed down in Sydney on December 15. 

“Should I respectfully suggest your client prepare himself for the potential adverse circumstances he will face,” Judge Hoy told Moir’s barrister.

“This is a very serious criminal offence, (a) very serious criminal offence.

Judge Hoy said he did not believe Moir should receive any reduction in penalty.

He then pointed out that Moir could have indeed benefited from having his sentence handed down in the Local Court, as a magistrate was limited in the amount of jail time that could be imposed.

Moir was sentenced in Albury Local Court in April to a minimum term of six months after the Wodonga pensioner pleaded guilty to a single count of misappropriating money as an agent.

Magistrate Roger Clisdell was told how a Tumbarumba couple had organised Moir to invest the $200,000.

But within a day of the money appearing in his account, Moir paid an $86,000 Australian Tax Office bill as part of a $126,382.92 outlay.

He eventually spent the whole amount, though Judge Hoy heard how Moir had repaid $45,000.

Moir’s victims initially attended his Albury office in mid-2007 simply to have a will redrawn, but Moir used the contact to instead urge them to immediately put $200,000 within two days into a “private placement investment program”.

In the time since 2007 the $200,000 figure lost increased by $85,525.94 in interest and $1825.70 in legal fees, minus the money repaid.