Public Trustee unit accused of ‘chewing up’ estate funds

from the Courier Mail November 1 2015

STAFF at a unit that searches for heirs of the deceased were encouraged to “chew up” the estates by overcharging for research, an employee has claimed in an official complaint.

The Public Trustee unit, which denies the allegations, is raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by billing deceased estates for tracing beneficiaries in complex cases in which the deceased did not make a will.

The Intestacy Entitlement Unit has 220 investigations under way, including cold cases from the state’s $21 million trove of unclaimed deceased estates.

But documents obtained by The Sunday Mail reveal the unit’s five staff were given “no significant resources” to track people down, despite charging $228 an hour for research.

The unit’s genealogists were at one point barred from searching the electoral roll online, initially had social media sites blocked on their work computers and were forced to pay for subscriptions to genealogy sites from their own pocket after waiting years for work accounts to be set up.

Staff relied on private genealogy site subscriptions as late as 2013 and in mid-2012 were told they must stop searching the state electoral roll online.

One genealogist repeatedly emailed his superiors pushing for basic resources. His contract was not renewed at the end of last year.

The employee, who asked not to be named, made an ­official complaint about “systemic overcharging” of fees early last year.

An investigator was also looking into other workplace issues in the unit, separate to an investigation into alleged overcharging.

“What was happening was that the (unit) was going completely off the rails with the point (being) that we needed to chew up estates, push these things through,” he told the investigator. “(Number) one is to make a lot of money out of every estate that you have been given and, secondly, if there is not nearly enough money left, well, let’s chew it up anyway.”

The employee was still to be told of an outcome as of last week.

But Public Trustee client services executive director Tony Steinmetz (left) denied staff were overcharging, saying it had a “duty to make all efforts to locate beneficiaries”, including in small estates.

He said staff had “appropriate computers, software and access to the internet”.

“The Public Trustee only charges fees that are reasonable and second, the Public Trustee has a clear system to ensure that fees are not overcharged,” he said.

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4 thoughts on “Public Trustee unit accused of ‘chewing up’ estate funds

  1. Thanks …. I have seen that report previously but had almost forgotten it, will certainly use in the CCC submission

    No doubt ‘senior’ staff did the sham searches

    The term ‘reasonable’ in PT context clearly has a different meaning to that in any known dictionary

    On 30/01/2016 16:47, the committee to expose the public trustee of Queensland wrote: > WordPress.com > John T. posted: “from the Courier Mail November 1 2015 STAFF at a unit > that searches for heirs of the deceased were encouraged to “chew up” > the estates by overcharging for research, an employee has claimed in > an official complaint. The Public Trustee unit, which denies ” >

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  2. Legislation creating the PTQ and its grubby cohorts QCAT, the OPG and the QIC shows the government fully intended that the Public Trustee would be a criminal organization tasked with exploiting and defrauding those who fall into its clutches and those of the parties subservient to the PTQ, including the Adult Guardian, and the kangaroo court. Lawyers employed by the PTQ are immune from censure by the Legal Services Commission, the OPG cannot fulfil its charter as it is funded by the PTQ and QCAT members obsequiously pander to the PTQ’s every wish. It is obvious however that the PTQ got completely out of control to the extent where it now controls the Attorney General, the very person who is supposedly responsible. for controlling it. Big money involvement is obvious from the commercial relationships between the PTQ, QIC, Morgans Financial Services, BDO, Australian Super and Anglo-American. Companies of this size mistakenly assume they are too big to fall, but the adage ‘the bigger they are …….’ has long been true.

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  3. I had to go do something else for a while after reading ‘The Public Trustee unit, which denies the allegations’. If I hadn’t, I have done some myself really serious physical damage due to splitting my sides laughing. There is no doubt that the PTQ maintains a substantial skullduggery / misinformation / lies and distortion department, but then nobody who has ever been touched by this impossibly nefarious mob of slimeballs would seriously expect anything approximating the truth from one of the goons. There needs to be a whole new dictionary of words to describe the depths of delinquency which the PTQ have achieved. Even the most avowed opponent of the concept of supernatural evil would be convinced of the reality of satanic forces on planet earth after encountering the PTQ. Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein were truly candidates for saint-hood compared with certain PTQ staff. Steinmetz is partly correct in that ‘staff had computers, software and access to the internet’ although he fails to mention the PTQ’s internet terrorism division that practices all manner of shenanigans including phone tapping, denial of service attacks and spamming those who challenge the PTQ. Maybe he isn’t aware of this department but personally I consider the probability of finding frogs feathers or rocking-horse drippings infinitely more likely.

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  4. The PTQ policy of ‘chewing up estate funds’ applies across every single unit of this officially conceived criminal organization, especially the areas associated with the guardianship racket. The ‘personal stories’ page on this website includes just a few of the tens of thousands of instances where the PTQ has deliberately set about to plunder the assets of victims. All funds held ‘in trust’ are regarded as the exclusive property of the PTQ which gladly uses money rightfully belonging to its victims to pay PTQ internal legal costs to oppose the interests of victims. In any other environment this would be recognized as fraud and embezzlement, however the PTQ being a government owned entity, complaints regarding fraud and embezzlement fall on deaf ears. Occasionally, the odd senior staffer does get lumbered with a criminal charge although the organization typically claims they are just ‘bad eggs’. I suspect that in these cases the scum were in fact in management positions, mind you its always difficult with an intentionally deceptive criminal cabal to know whether or not the term ‘senior’ really means what the dictionary suggests. It has been observed that PTQ staff pin on a badge proclaiming they are ‘senior bovine dropping merchant’ on the first day they turn up for work.

    Back in 2009, the then ALP government attorney general Cameron Dick raped up the level of protection for its PTQ revenue raising unit by creating the kangaroo tribunal with native jurisdiction over the guardianship racket. Actually Dick copied the US conservatorship system but instead of allowing private individuals to reap the rewards, this turkey arranged for the PTQ (and hence the state of Queensland) to benefit from plundering the the estates of vulnerable Queenslanders. It is blatantly obvious that the unconstitutional kangaroo tribunal was intended to be corrupt as legislation provided that it could ignore rules of evidence, that it could inform itself any way it wishes (lies and innuendo are fine), and that it could claim it is not responsible for determining the truth or otherwise. Certainly legislation is full of provisions regarding tribunal MUST do’s, however there is nary a word about remedies which apply when some arrogant ignoramus (and there is no shortage of these) thumbs their nose at MUST do provisions. In practice, attempts to bring quasi-judges to account are met with hysterical cries to the effect that ‘we have immunity’ to breaches of legislation.. Kangaroo tribunal contempt for legislation is also seen in its refusal to recognize the requirement for it to retain specialized expertise with experience, qualifications, training AND expertise (note the inclusive AND). Currently there is one part time speech pathologist with dubious experience, a long retired non-practicing psychologist who is only known to have heard one matter in living memory, and a full-time ‘doctor’ who turns out to have a PhD in english literature. Interestingly the tribunal refuses to recognize professional evidence from highly esteemed professors claiming the fact that they are non-practicing renders their knowledge irrelevant, but on the other hand, the tribunal perceives no problem with dragging in long retired part time members who last practiced thirty years ago. Furthermore, the tribunal accepts as the oracle of wisdom comments by PTQ staffer Karen Opitz who claimed to have been an occupational therapist around the time Noah was outfitting the Ark. Legislation states that the president MUST be a supreme court judge and the deputy president a district court judge, although compliance has been rare. Currently the acting president is a district court judge when there is a supreme court judge being assigned utterly trivial matters because the government is terrified of what he could expose, and the deputy president doesn’t have judicial qualifications at all.

    By design and policy, accountability has been nobbled as far as the government could manage. The internal complaints facility mandated in the Public Service Act does not exist in the PTQ or the kangaroo tribunal, in fact senior registrar Julie Hay has advised that there is no point in filing complaints as ‘we don’t take any notice of them’. Any attempts to use the internal appeal process are blocked with manufactured evidence held to be factual, and / or by assigning non-judicial members to hear the appeal. The most notorious instance of the latter was the Maher matter in which Clare Endicott, the very same person who made the original decision of incapacity also assigned herself to hear the appeal. The Court of Appeal was not impressed stating that ‘the quality of decision-making in QCAT is deplorable’. Published caselaw reveals that the incidence of quasi-judge created evidence increased dramatically after Endicott was slapped across the dial, and this meant that no appeal since Maher has escaped the kangaroo tribunal. There was considerable consternation in a May 2017 mattter which was clearly destined to bypass the locked doors and carefully constructed roadblocks. Rather than risk another brutal savaging at the hands of the Court of Appeal, the kangaroo tribunal got cold feet and returned a victim’s life for the first time in six years. Only after escaping the clutches of the guardianship racket, the victim discovered that the criminal organization appointed to protect her rights had embezzled virtually all her savings (some $100,000) over a period of 27 months. It is well nigh impossible to get a handle on PTQ fees as the scum refuse to comply with regulations requiring regular accounting. Legal fees in particular are never disclosed and it appears nothing can be done about this as the kangaroo tribunal and the attorney general are demonstrably controlled by the PTQ.

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