Dementia patient faces eviction after dispute with serial conwoman

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A serial conwoman is facing fresh allegations over her involvement in a $520,000 loan that was never repaid, and secured by property owned by an 86-year-old woman suffering from dementia.

Athena Razos, 59, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in the County Court last year to 16 counts of misappropriating more than $1.5 million from clients of Melbourne law firm Moray and Agnew.

Athena Razos is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty.Credit: Facebook

Over the past 30 years, Razos used more than a dozen aliases to defraud, embezzle and steal from several prestigious law firms, along with major banks, credit card companies and her former husband.

Now, an elderly associate of Razos, who cannot be named after she was placed into guardianship in April due to dementia and other medical conditions, faces eviction from a Hawthorn home she purchased in 1973.

The property was used as security to take out a $520,000 loan by a company owned by Razos’ husband, Alex Razos on January 25 last year, according to documents filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria on May 11.

It is alleged in court documents that “Alex and Athena Razos each provided a guarantee as security” for the 12-month loan, which included a monthly interest rate of 24 per cent and required the sale of the woman’s Hawthorn home within eight weeks of default.

The loan agreement was signed by the elderly associate of Alex and Athena Razos, while the proceeds were used to purchase a property for the couple in Burwood, according to court documents.

But no repayments were ever made, and the debt ballooned to more than $725,000, including interest payments and default fees.

The lender, Hastings Capital Australia Pty Ltd, has launched legal action against Alex Razos’ company Wisemay Pty Ltd and the 86-year-old woman in a bid to seize both the Burwood and Hawthorn properties.

However, law firm Suzanne Lyttleton Lawyers, acting for the 86-year-old associate of Alex and Athena Razos, has filed a counter-claim that their client “was not capable of understanding the nature of what she was doing in signing the guarantor documents and Hawthorn property mortgage.”

They have moved to have the loan agreement voided on the basis that Alex and Athena Razos had “acted unconscionably and contrary to general law.”

Lawyer Hayley Hunter declined to comment when contacted by The Age.

Athena Razos said she was unable to discuss the legal dispute over the $520,000 loan, which she described as a “a private civil matter”.

“I don’t even know why you want to be writing about me. There are a million-and-one things better to write about,” she said.

Alex Razos said he had not received the counterclaim and was unable to comment on the allegations. He said the 86-year-old woman has an interest in his Burwood property and had benefitted from the $520,000 loan.

Razos, who was not involved in his wife’s criminal activity, said her only involvement in the loan was as a guarantor.

In 2000, Athena Razos pleaded guilty to 20 theft and fraud offences she committed using the name Tina Zissiadis-Ligris, including submitting fake documents to obtain a Diners Club card before racking up debts of $80,000.

In 2003, her former friend Rhonda Taylor lent $18,000 to Razos, who claimed she had fallen behind on mortgage repayments and promised to settle the debt as soon as she could refinance the property.

Razos, who was using the alias Athena Bouzas at the time, never repaid Taylor, who was raising triplets and eventually forced to sell her own home.

While working as a secretary at law firm Freehills under the name Athina Zissi, she was convicted in 2007 of more than 140 counts of stealing, involving $16,346 from petty cash.

In 2009, using the name Athina Ligris, she served a four-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to 27 fraud and deception offences dating back to 1992, including forging her first husband’s signature to transfer the family home in Burwood East into her name.

In 2017, the Victorian Legal Services Board blocked her involvement in the legal industry and released a statement providing details of 14 different aliases she had used, including Zizzi Athena, Teena Zissiadis and Tina Zissiadis-Ligris.

After wreaking financial havoc for more than three decades, Razos was permanently disqualified from being a legal practitioner in 2020 at a hearing in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

She will face a further plea hearing and sentencing later this year.

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