Traffickers told: ‘I don’t want this case to totally f**k you’

Former solicitor Adam Magill's drug kingpin clients sourced fake pay slips to secure Legal Aid funding after the practitioner told them their trafficking case could "f*** you financially", a court has been told.

The details were this week revealed during a sentencing hearing for Cuong Quoc Ta - the brother of infamous trafficker Piet "Bruce" Luan Ta, who was once a wanted fugitive after going on the run for 10 months while awaiting sentence for drugs charges.

Cuong Quoc Ta (right) leaves the Magistrates Court in Brisbane. He pleaded guilty to falsification of documents after he was charged as part of an investigation into the activities of a Brisbane based law firm Lawler Magill. Picture: NCA NewWire/Dan Peled.
Cuong Quoc Ta (right) leaves the Magistrates Court in Brisbane. He pleaded guilty to falsification of documents after he was charged as part of an investigation into the activities of a Brisbane based law firm Lawler Magill. Picture: NCA NewWire/Dan Peled.

Cuong Quoc Ta, 37, on Wednesday pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court to one count of fraud and two counts of falsifying a document.

Magistrate Janelle Brassington heard Ta had in 2013 falsified two pay slips for his brothers Piet and Lam Quoc "Chops" Ta, who were facing trafficking charges at the time.

Both brothers were later convicted of trafficking in cocaine, ice, heroin and cannabis and Magill acted for the pair until 2016.

The court heard the men had legitimately worked in Cuong's scaffolding business but he had, at their request, doctored pay slips to represent a different figure than their true income.

Piet “Bruce” Ta. Picture: Facebook.
Piet “Bruce” Ta. Picture: Facebook.

The court heard this was done in order to secure Legal Aid Queensland funding for the case, which was paid to the law firm Lawler Magill.

The court was told Piet sent Magill a text message about his matters, saying he wanted to discuss the possibility of having them funded by the taxpayer supported legal service.

The court heard Magill told him over text: "I don't want this case to totally f**k you financially. I love you and your family too much".

Piet replied: " … where we can save I would like to hear as a result what needs to be done needs to be done bro … sounds good to me".

Piet Ta. Picture: Facebook.
Piet Ta. Picture: Facebook.

Piet then asked his brother Cuong to produce the pay slips.

Cuong was on Wednesday fined $6000 for the two counts of creating a falsified document and one count of fraud, which benefited the business Lawler Magill.
Cuong had a conviction recorded.

His lawyer, Ashkan Tai, had argued for the conviction not to be recorded, saying his client was a family man with limited criminal history and a successful business.

Piet also appeared in court via a video link to jail said he had been unable to view the evidence against him because of COVID restrictions at the correctional facility.

He said he was self-represented but Magistrate Brassington told him he would be eligible to apply for Legal Aid funding, if he engaged another lawyer.

"Look what happened the last time I tried to apply for Legal Aid," he said.

"That's why I'm in here.

"It's going to take me some time to pick a lawyer."

Piet's matter was adjourned until September 14.

 

Adam Magill leaves the supreme court in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle
Adam Magill leaves the supreme court in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle

 

Magill, who is a former police detective, is facing his own charges of aggravated fraud, fraudulent falsification of records and aggravated money laundering, which were brought by the State's corruption watchdog after an 18-month investigation into criminal law firm Lawler Magill.

They have alleged Magill was taking cash payments from clients without lodging them through his firm's trust accounts and in some cases, doubling up with Legal Aid funding.

Magill denies the allegations.

His legal practising certificate cancelled last year after Magill was convicted of breaching his bail numerous times.

 

 

Originally published as Traffickers told: 'I don't want this case to totally f**k you'


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