Two fake lawyers

February 26th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The chief executive of a legal firm stepped down soon after it was discovered he did not have the law degree he claimed to have.

Michael Vukcevic left Auckland firm Baldwins, which specialises in intellectual property law, for “personal reasons”, according to a press release in November.

The 43-year-old is an experienced business leader who has worked closely with government ministers and agencies negotiating free-trade agreements in the Middle East.

A Herald investigation can reveal that Mr Vukcevic does not have a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) as stated on the curriculum vitae he submitted for the job two years earlier.

Pretty embarrassing that a major law firm didn’t check a claimed law degree for its chief executive.

Mr Vukcevic was previously on the board of Transparency International New Zealand, an anti-corruption agency dedicated to promote transparency, accountability and integrity in government and civil society.

Oh, the irony.

Stuff reports on another fake lawyer:

A serial conman with 184 convictions has been told a jail sentence is likely after he was found guilty of deception by impersonating a lawyer.

Brian Hunter, who was described by his own lawyer as a fantasist, yesterday clocked up convictions 183 and 184 after being found guilty of two charges of obtaining by deception in a judge-only trial in Napier District Court. …

Brian Damian Hunter, 55, now has 184 convictions. Nearly all involve dishonesty offending.

He was first convicted in Wellington in 1974.

He has received many non-custodial sentences, and was jailed in 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1998.

I think our three strikes law is set appropriately so that only serious violent or sexual crimes result in a strike offence, where your third strike is the maximum sentence without parole.

But I do wonder if we need something similar for the recidivist criminals who don’t beat, kill and rape – but do create victims and misery.

Maybe not three strikes for them, but 30 strikes or even 50 strikes? Basically a realisation that they have decided to remain a criminal permanently, so that any future offending will be an automatic jail term in order to protect the community.

15 Responses to “Two fake lawyers”

  1. kowtow (13,197 comments) says:

    The con man thing is interesting.

    White collar crime where there’s no violence .I can only speculate about how many lives that type ruin through stealing peoples’ savings ,we sometimes read of suicide in such cases ,not to mention the loss of trust good people may once have had in others and the ‘system’ which seems to allow these scum to continue and to thrive.

    As to Vukcevic ,it’s extraordinary how so called clever lawyers ,pollies etc can be taken in.Must be a bit more to it.

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  2. RRM (12,553 comments) says:

    I wonder if Vukcevic had any hands-on role in those Transparency International New Zealand stats, that you post up on here from time to time?

    You know, those “New Zealand voted least corrupt country in the world AGAIN…” according to a fraudster fake lawyer.

    Our friend, Penny There-are-conspiracies-everywhere is probably getting a female hardon over this as we speak 🙂

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  3. DJP6-25 (1,779 comments) says:

    Three strikes does need to be extended as above. I guess MPs who have dodgy CVs are protected by the socialist ‘Shield of Sanctimony’.

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  4. PaulL (6,056 comments) says:

    I’m not sure you need a law for that – the existing law should adequately cover repeat offenders. The question is whether judges are giving soft sentences to someone who is clearly a recidivist offender. Another question would probably be mental health – is this guy actually a criminal, or someone who needs protection from himself?

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  5. Elaycee (4,536 comments) says:

    The amazing thing for me is that there was clearly no background checking done at the time this imposter was recruited.

    If the info wasn’t available online, a simple call (or email) to the registrar of the University, would have revealed this chap was a fake. And yet he was appointed to a CEO role in a Lawyer’s office!! Oh, dear….

    Recruiting 101, I would have thought. For any organisation.

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  6. anticorruptionnz (251 comments) says:

    As a verification specialist I constantly remind employers that the person who takes the risk is the one who does the back ground screen.

    Many employers leave this to the recruiter to do as part of the recruitment process. I note that Mr Vukcevic in 199 when he was an IT recruitment specialist claimed that the CV’s he put forward have a high success rate .

    Michelle Boag also a recruiter defends ” mistakes” in CV’s

    As a verification specialist I maintain that a CV is a test for integrity and if a candidate puts forward falsehoods he will also reflect that in his work style while employed by you.

    Background screens / CV verifications are as cheap as chips compared to the reputation loss suffered by showing that you don’t check who you employ.

    New Zealand the least corrupt country in the world because we take every one for their word .. we don’t check so we don’t uncover falsehoods.

    its all in the word which sums up the transparency International New Zealand corruption index.. it is a PERCEPTION index and New Zealand being the least corrupt is a Perception which TINZ seeks to keep alive.

    Transparency New Zealand Limited however embraces the reality and we say -there is a ton of corruption out there – protect yourself.

    corruption = monopoly+ discretion – accountability

    would be nice to see some accountability of TINZ to the reality for a change- even your directors embrace falsehoods.

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  7. pct (21 comments) says:

    Meanwhile the Leader of the Opposition is permitted to “correct” his CV…….

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  8. anticorruptionnz (251 comments) says:

    This is hilarious

    in 1999 Michael Vukcevic was employed by Duncan & Ryan Associates which was bought out by TALENT 2 NZ LIMITED

    Talent 2 also bought The defendant John Banks company

    wonder how robust the set up of the NZ middle east business council is. I note that Mr Vukcevic set it up and then remained the chairperson .

    He was working for EY at the time and appears to have gained much notoriety for his role of the incorporated society and has been able to rub shoulders with the rich famous and influential

    am I getting dizzy because of the overlapping circles or could this all be part of one big corrupt cesspit? So often when integrity is lacking the whole structure can fail

    BRING OUT THE SPIN DOCTORS .. oops forgot Michelle Boag has already claimed that it was a mistake.

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  9. shady (255 comments) says:

    Funny seeing Brian Hunter pop up yet again. I was flown – thanks tax payers – from Auckland to Wellington twice in 1989 as a witness to his fraudulent behaviour way back then! Hate to think what he has cost business and tax payers since then by the look of the list of his convictions!

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  10. Mark (1,611 comments) says:

    Michelle Boag was on the Radio defending Vukevic this morning and claimed that it was a simple error and that he should have added incomplete after LLB. mmmm if it is incomplete is it the same as not having the qualification????

    My Michelles reckoning I now have an incomplete degree in Nuclear Physics 😀

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  11. kowtow (13,197 comments) says:



    I get the impression that the bigger the potential deal the less integrity has to do with it.

    We were proud pioneers in declaring China a free and open economy ,setting the stage for them to enter even more world scale wheeling and dealing.

    While trade with China is making a lot of money ,there’s nothing free and open about the Chinese economy.

    Money talks.Integrity ,not so much.

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  12. Chris2 (915 comments) says:

    I recall that Boag worked for Momentum when that recruitment company placed Stephen Wilce in the position of Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Defence, without doing any checks, and whom TV3 unmasked as a fantasist. Momentum billed MoD $25,000 for that placement.

    Amongst other improbable claims on his CV, he claimed to have been involved in the defence of the Americas Cup. Only thing is he neglected to mention that this referred to being the bar manager at the Yacht Squadron’s restaurant!

    Thanks Michelle, you give us endless laughs.

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  13. David Garrett (10,972 comments) says:

    Mark: Surely Boag did not say that??

    I recall someone telling me once that it was once common in India for “professionals” to write ” LL.B [etc.] (failed)” on their name plates…apparently having once actually attended a University had some value back then in that country..even if you didnt actually get the degree…

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  14. jcuk (1,479 comments) says:

    But I heard Boag on National Radio excusing the error by saying it was not a CV but something else [ forget the word she used ] which to me sounded very much like a CV under a different name ….LOL …. not once but several times.

    I do not remember any mention of ‘failed’ 🙂

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  15. Bill felt (1 comment) says:

    Lots of chatter about this in the legal fraternity in Wgtn today – and lots of laughter. Seems Vukcevic has a record of being at companies for a short period and then being “asked to leave”. He did a stint at Pharmaceutical Solutions as CEO for only 12 months and was then “asked to leave”. I wonder if he had his LLB for that role as well. Seems plausible.

    Can not understand what this has to do with Boag – but hey I am sure there is a good reason.

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