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Convicted lawyer who transferred over $9m of client money to fund gambling addiction struck off

A former Atanaskovic Hartnell lawyer, who was sentenced to six years imprisonment following conviction on six counts of dishonestly obtaining an advantage, has been removed from the roll of Australian lawyers.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 13 April 2022 SME Law
Convicted lawyer who transferred over $9m of client money to fund gambling addiction struck off
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In January 2019, Brody Jack Clarke – who was admitted in December 2007 and was formerly employed by Atanaskovic Hartnell – was convicted of offences against s192E (1)(b) of the Crimes Act in NSW of dishonestly obtaining an advantage.

He had previously pleaded guilty to the transfer of a cumulative total of $9,853,777 in funds from clients to his private bank account, including almost $6 million from Deutsche Bank.

The other clients whom he “fraudulently transferred” money from into his own account were Directors Interest Pty Limited, WIN Corporation Pty Ltd, Aurora Funds Management Ltd, and Birketu Pty Ltd.


He was sentenced, in the NSW District Court, to an aggregate sentence of six years’ imprisonment, expiring in January 2025, with a non-parole period of three years.

He was an employee of Atanaskovic Hartnell at the time of committing the aforementioned offences.

In its judgment, NSW Court of Appeal judges John Basten, Robert Macfarlan and Carolyn Simpson noted that Mr Clarke had “fraudulently transferred money, or caused its transfer, from bank accounts of entities associated with clients of the firm with whom he had developed close relations and for whom he acted in a number of transactions”.

The bench further noted that the sentencing judge had “referred to Mr Clarke foolishly deciding ‘to attempt to fund an irrational gambling addiction by stealing about $9 million from his client, a well-known Australian business entity’”.

The District Court had found, the NSWCA judges said, that Mr Clarke was “unlikely to reoffend, had good prospects of rehabilitation and had expressed significant remorse and regret”.

Moreover, he has made efforts to overcome his gambling addiction.

This said, the District Court added that there was “no prospect of Mr Clarke providing any substantial sum of money to recompense the client”.

The Council of the Law Society of NSW and Mr Clarke agreed on the statement of facts to the proceedings, and Mr Clarke consented to the Court of Appeal making the orders sought by the Law Society, being a declaration that he was not a fit and proper person to remain on the roll of Australian lawyers, removal of his name from the roll, and costs.

The Court of Appeal noted that there was “no doubt” that Mr Clarke was not a fit and proper person to be a lawyer and “will continue to be unfit for the foreseeable future”.

“The offences involved him taking advantage in a deliberate and calculated fashion of opportunities arising out of his employment as a solicitor and involved significant breaches of trust and serious dishonesty,” the three judges proclaimed.

“His acts were antithetical to central requirements for being a fit and proper person, namely honesty and integrity.”

Mr Clarke’s conduct was “clearly dishonourable and disgraceful”, the Court of Appeal continued, and was “inimical to the reputation of the legal profession and to public confidence in its integrity”.

The three judges did add, however, that Mr Clarke was remorseful and wishes to redeem his reputation in the future – something the bench said was commendable.

“Whether he will be able to do this, remains to be seen and is at the present time purely a matter of speculation,” they said.

NSWCA thus ordered that Mr Clarke be declared not fit and proper to remain on the roll, that his name be removed from the roll, and that he pay costs to the Law Society. 

The judgment citation is Council of the Law Society of New South Wales v Clarke [2022] NSWCA 57.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly noted offences that Mr Clarke was not accused of. Upon realising the error, this was rectified immediately. Lawyers Weekly regrets the error.