Fresh allegations have emerged against a notorious serial conwoman, shedding light on a new case involving a $520,000 loan that remains unpaid. According to an article published in The Age, the loan was secured by a property owned by an 86-year-old woman suffering from dementia.
The accused, Athena Razos, 59, has a long history of fraudulent activities. She has previously pleaded guilty to 16 counts of misappropriating over $1.5 million from clients of a Melbourne law firm and is currently awaiting sentencing in the County Court.
Razos, known for adopting multiple aliases over the past three decades, has defrauded and embezzled from numerous prestigious law firms, major banks, credit card companies, and even her former husband.
In this latest alleged scheme, Razos targeted her elderly associate, who was placed under guardianship in April due to dementia and other medical conditions. The associate now faces eviction from her Hawthorn home, which she purchased back in 1973.
According to court documents filed on May 11 in the Supreme Court of Victoria, the property served as collateral for a $520,000 loan granted to a company owned by Razos’ husband, Alex Razos, on January 25 of the previous year. The loan agreement allegedly involved both Alex and Athena Razos providing a guarantee as security. The agreement specified a monthly interest rate of 24 percent and a requirement to sell the woman’s Hawthorn property within eight weeks of default, as reported by The Age.
The elderly associate of Alex and Athena Razos signed the loan agreement, and the funds were used to acquire a property in Burwood for the couple, according to court documents. However, no repayments were made, resulting in the debt growing to over $725,000, including interest payments and default fees.
Hastings Capital Australia Pty Ltd, the lender, has taken legal action against Alex Razos’ company, Wisemay Pty Ltd, as well as the 86-year-old woman, in an attempt to seize both the Burwood and Hawthorn properties.
In response, Suzanne Lyttleton Lawyers, representing the elderly associate, filed a counter-claim asserting 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 aim to invalidate the loan agreement, citing the unconscionable actions of Alex and Athena Razos as a violation of general law.
When contacted, lawyer Hayley Hunter from Suzanne Lyttleton Lawyers declined to comment on the matter, as reported by The Age.
Athena Razos dismissed the legal dispute surrounding the $520,000 loan as a “private civil matter” and expressed confusion regarding the attention her case has garnered. Alex Razos claimed to be unaware of the counterclaim and was unable to provide a statement on the allegations. He maintained that the 86-year-old woman held an interest in his Burwood property and had benefited from the loan, clarifying that Athena’s involvement was solely as a guarantor.
Athena Razos has a history of criminal activity spanning several years. In 2000, under the name Tina Zissiadis-Ligris, she pleaded guilty to 20 theft and fraud offenses, including the submission of counterfeit documents to obtain a Diners Club card, resulting in debts of $80,000.
In 2003, using the alias Athena Bouzas, Razos borrowed $18,000 from her former friend Rhonda Taylor, claiming financial difficulties and promising repayment after refinancing her property. However, she never fulfilled her promise, leading Taylor to sell her own home.
While employed as a secretary at the law firm Freehills under the name Athina Zissi, Razos was convicted in 2007 of more than 140 counts of stealing, involving $16,346 from petty cash. In 2009, using the name Athina Ligris, Razos served a four-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to 27 fraud and deception offenses dating back to 1992. These offenses included forging her first husband’s signature to transfer the family home in Burwood East into her name. The Victorian Legal Services Board prohibited her involvement in the legal industry in 2017 and released a statement disclosing 14 different aliases she had utilized, including Zizzi Athena, Teena Zissiadis, and Tina Zissiadis-Ligris. Finally, in 2020, she was permanently disqualified from being a legal practitioner by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.