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Senior lawyer conned clients with fake settlement offers

A compensation lawyer invented settlement offers worth tens of thousands of dollars and lied to clients about securing judgments on their behalf, including to one woman suffering from stage four cancer.

user iconNaomi Neilson 02 April 2024 Big Law
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While employed as a senior solicitor, Sandra Primerano, also known as Sandra Mitris, lied to six clients about the status of their personal injury claims in circumstances where the firm had no knowledge and had not approved or authorised her to act on its behalf.

The firm, Schreuder Partners Compensation Lawyers, told the NSW Supreme Court its reputation has suffered and lost between $650,000 and $1.3 million in revenue as a result of the deception.

Primerano told one woman she commenced a multimillion-dollar lawsuit on her behalf and claimed a settlement offer had been made in the amounts of $800,000 and $1.8 million.


The woman, who had been dying of cancer at the time, travelled to Sydney for a mediation only to be told by Primerano that the mediator had contracted the coronavirus, so it could not go ahead.

In October 2022, several months after the conduct was discovered and Primerano was terminated, the woman posted a Google review warning people to “go elsewhere” because Primerano “fabricated court dates, mediation, settlement offers for about four years”.

The woman has since died, and the review cannot be removed.

Justice Ian Pike said the review “has had, and is continuing to have, a not insignificant impact on the [firm’s] reputation”.

“The Google review obviously means that other potential clients will become aware of the defendant’s conduct, which will likely cause them to think less of the plaintiff as a reputable law firm and they may well choose to go elsewhere,” Justice Pike said.

Primerano told another client that a settlement offer of $45,000 had been made and that she was due before the court in mid-August 2022.

When that date came, Primerano pretended to be a paralegal and told the client she could not make it because her father had died.

In a separate incident, Primerano said judgment in the sum of $1,450,000 was obtained and she would send a copy.

Primerano hacked into the same paralegal’s email account and told the client the judgment was attached. There was no attachment.

After another woman became aware that a settlement offer of $300,000 had been fabricated and that no work had been done by Primerano, she became “quite understandably agitated and upset” and threatened to go “to the media” about Primerano’s deception.

Given the difficulty in determining the exact amount of revenue the firm lost, Justice Pike said a “broad brush approach must be taken” and ordered Primerano pay the sum of $75,000 in damages.

Primerano was also ordered to pay the firm’s costs of the proceedings in the gross sum of $104,140.28.

Primerano has not had an active role in the proceedings since March 2023.

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