Taxi driver swindled elder out of $1.5m property: Judge
A DARWIN taxi driver who was found to have swindled an Aboriginal elder and artist our of her $1.5m family property in Knuckey Lagoon will likely be forced to return the land while being left with a hefty legal bill.
Marrithiyel woman Patsy Que Noy sued Mohammad Nawaz Qadir, 31, in the Supreme Court, claiming he duped her into signing over the property she inherited after her husband, Arthur, passed away in 2015.
The court heard Mrs Que Noy was suffering from depression and had "a very limited income" when Mr Qadir offered to give her a $300,000 loan to help pay her bills if she agreed to sign "a document that would put the council rates for the land in his name".
In ruling for Mrs Que Noy, Justice Graham Hiley found Mr Qadir instead tricked her into signing over the property and never even intended to or ever did pay her any of the $300,000.
Justice Hiley found Mr Qadir took advantage of Mrs Que Noy's vulnerable state after her husband's death by fraudulently inducing her to sign a contract authorising the sale in 2017.
"The defendant was well placed to understand the impacts of Arthur's death on the plaintiff and her family," he said.
"He was aware that the plaintiff was having difficulties at home in the wake of her husband's death and was having arguments with her children.
"The defendant knew that the plaintiff trusted him to treat her fairly and to do the right thing by her. He knew that the plaintiff was vulnerable to his attempts to persuade her to sell him the land and to accept $300,000 as proper payment.
"He deliberately dissuaded her from speaking to a lawyer or her family about the contract, knowing that her children were and always had been opposed to the land being sold and would stop the transaction from proceeding."
When Mrs Que Noy became aware of the true nature of the contract Mr Qadir had asked her to sign, she commenced legal action and Justice Hiley also found Mr Qadir forged receipts he later claimed showed the deal was legitimate.
"He is the sort of person who would, and I find did, arrange to have the receipts fabricated once he learnt that the plaintiff was complaining about him having had his name registered as owner of the land," he said.
Justice Hiley said it seemed "appropriate" to order the title to the land be returned to Mrs Que Noy and that Mr Qadir pay her substantial legal costs but reserved his decision to allow the parties to consider his verdict.
"He intentionally deceived the plaintiff to her detriment and knowingly proceeded to deprive her of her property," he said.
"His conduct amounted to fraud."
Mr Qadir was not charged with a criminal offence over the scam.
Originally published as Darwin taxi driver swindled elder out of $1.5m family property: Judge