Former lawyer on fraud charges escapes prison sentence

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District Court judge Michael Shananhan suspended Michael Quinn’s 18 month jail sentence on Wednesday, after he pled guilty to a fraud charge worth $826,000.

Between January and May of 2011, Quinn, managing partner of Brisbane firm Quinn and Scattini, transferred funds from a trust account in order to try and keep his firm, with 80 staff, afloat.  Quinn was left the only remaining equity partner following a downturn in business. 
Quinn pleaded guilty to transferring funds that should have been paid to the Office of State Revenue for stamp duty, which he said he eventually paid.  He told the court he was pleading guilty to try to keep the firm from going under.

Quinn was struck off as a solicitor in 2012 after he was order to get psychiatric treatment.  He had been desperately trying to keep the firm afloat by selling of various assets, including 12 properties he owned. 

“That's a breach of trust involved in your profession as a solicitor and the public expectation of the integrity of that role,” said Judge Shanahan.

According to reports by the Courier Mail, Quinn was guilty of previous fraud charges in 2001 but was not criminally charged.  But Judge Shanahan ruled that putting Quinn in jail would have no useful purpose since he has already been devastated by the offences he committed. 

Quinn was officially bankrupted this week.

According to a report by the Sunshine Coast Daily, Quinn will have to serve the 18 months jail time if he commits another offence in the next three years.