Dennis Jensen and his connection to Derek Balogh and Spiros Kalotihos

Apr 22, 2023 | Pseudolaw, Scammers

Dennis Jensen outside the Victorian Supreme Court

Dennis Jensen has made headlines in Australia a few times. Called a “cancer cure conman” and a “fake lawyer” he has been implicated in the death of at least one woman, been the subject of three Health Complaints Commissioner warnings/prohibitions and been sentenced for contempt of court relating to a breach of an injunction restraining him from providing legal service.

But what has that got to do with Derek Balogh and Spiros Kalotihos?

First some history on Dennis Jensen.

The death of Helen Lawson

Helen was an emergency department nurse who was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in October 2017. She was booked in for surgery but cancelled the day before her scheduled operation.

Helen Lawson on holiday in Paris in 2010
Helen Lawson on holiday in Paris in 2010

Dennis Jensen convinced her turn her back on conventional medicine and instead use “black salve” to cure her cancer. Jensen had claimed to have cured hundreds of others with this treatment, including his own brain tumor (twice).

The result of applying black salve was “raw mutilated bubbling flesh” and a wound so large that surgeons would not have been able to operate. The sicker Helen got the less Jensen wanted to talk to her, until finally she collapsed on April 6th 2018 and died the same night.

One of Helen’s family members complained to the Health Complaints Commissioner, handing over photos and details of Helen’s “treatment”.

On the 14th May 2018, Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner, Karen Cusack issued Jensen with a 12 week interim prohibition order banning him from providing any health service while the matter was investigated.

Health Complaints commission issue an Indefinite Prohibition order

Commissioner Cusack followed up their interim order on 7th August 2018 with an indefinite ban.

‘‘Having considered the evidence, I’m satisfied Mr Jensen contravened the general code of conduct, which applies to all health service providers outside the national registration scheme, when he treated a patient suffering from ovarian cancer with black salve and encouraged the patient to stop evidence-based treatment,’’ Ms Cusack said.

‘‘I have serious concerns about the extent to which Mr Jensen is capable of delivering any general health services safely and ethically.

‘‘Dangerous and unethical practitioners who prey on the desperation and vulnerability of cancer-sufferers, or others suffering terminal illness, won’t be tolerated.’’

Dennis Jenson receives a second HCC Prohibition order

The first prohibition order was followed up by a second prohibition order issued on the 18th January 2019 to ban Dennis Jenson from importing, manufacturing or compounding any product or substance that he (or anyone else) claims can cure cancer or any other serious illness.

“It’s incredibly important the public knows that alternative therapists are not permitted to make claims that these remedies, including black salve and laetrile, will cure cancer,”

Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner, Karen Cusack

This followed the death of a woman in her 60s who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was sold B17 (also known as Amygdaln or Laetrile) by Dennis Jensen. She died 4 months after being seen by Jensen

Ms Cusack said the investigation found Mr Jensen had supplied alternative remedies including laetrile or B17, a substance that can be found in the seeds of some fruit. She highlighted the need for Victorians to be aware of the existence of alternative remedies such as black salve and laetrile in Victoria, and to contact the HCC if a general health service provider claimed that using these products could cure cancer.

In the midst of his woes with the Health Complaints Commission banning him for selling his fake cancer cures, in December 2018 Dennis was also banned from being a fake lawyer.

A number of parties had filed complaints against Jenson with the Victorian Legal Services Board.

“The Victorian Legal Services Board (‘the Board’) applies for an injunction under s 447 of the Legal Professional Uniform Law (Vic) (‘Uniform Law’) to restrain the defendants from engaging in unqualified legal practice, and from advertising or representing, or doing anything that states or implies that they are entitled to engage in legal practice.”

A judgement was handed down in the Victorian Supreme court that ordered Jenson to cease any kind of legal practice. In a media release from the Victoria Legal Services board it was advised that “Mr Jensen is not a lawyer and has never held legal qualifications.”

Board CEO, Ms Fiona McLeay, said the Board was aware that Mr Jensen had been representing Gippsland residents in Court, despite not being entitled to do so.

It is against the law for someone to impersonate a lawyer, or to offer to provide legal services if they have no legal qualifications.

Board CEO Fiona McLeay

The Board took action in the Supreme Court of Victoria after Mr Jensen and the two companies he operates – Common Law Resolutions Pty Ltd and JTA Corporation Pty Ltd – allegedly continued to engage in legal practice despite warnings from the Board.

‘The danger that fake lawyers pose to the public is significant. There are no safety nets when using an unqualified person, no public liability insurance and no protection of a client’s money. If a client is not happy with the service they have received, there is nobody to complain to… Only a qualified lawyer has the knowledge, skills, training and importantly, legal protections for consumers if something goes wrong,’

Enter Derek Balogh and Spiros Kalotihos

In May 2022 Dennis was back in court again. This time it was contempt of court by breaching the injunction imposed on him in 2018 which banned him from giving legal advice or drawing documents on behalf of litigants.

On 18 February 2021, the VLSB received a complaint from a firm of solicitors that their client (a man facing a rape charge) and his parents, had received incorrect legal advice from Mr Jensen in mid-2020 and that this advice resulted in their client being charged with contravening an AVO. The complaint to the VLSB revealed that Jenson had provided legal advice and had drawn up legal documents on behalf of the client.

The court document exposes a series of emails between Jensen and the parents of the accused including affidavit templates and photos of pages of legal texts. The whole document is fascinating to read. Jensen’s changing account of the emails is summarised in the court document:

(a) ‘They’re not my emails’;

(b) ‘The purported affidavits [attached to the emails] are not my affidavits’;

(c) ‘There’s no evidence that I actually sent them’;

(d) ‘My emails are on my computer. And I haven’t printed anything off to give anybody as an email’;

(e) ‘[T]here’s a lot of people use my computer. It’s a computer that is for business’;

(f) ‘I’ve had other people use my computer and send out a lot of stuff’;

(g) ‘They could have been adjusted or altered’;

(h) ‘I can hardly read or write’;

(i) ‘I’m not very computer literate, Your Honour. People send emails out. I send an email out. It goes from my computer … If I have to write an email for business I get people, or any emails, I get people to write them pretty much for me because I struggle writing and reading’;

(j) ‘[T]here were other people that were writing these documents and affidavits and things for me anyway’.

In one email it was revealed that Dennis had never actually met the accused or the parents of the accused, but had instead met the parents through a colleague. The first hint of the name of the colleague is found in one of the emails dated 16th August 2020:

It begins: “Hi Denn and Derek”.

Not a lot else about Derek Balogh is mentioned until the next court date.

The Sentencing

On the 28th September 2022 Dennis returned to the Victorian Supreme court for sentencing. Derek Balogh is mentioned numerous times throughout the court document as Jensen attempts to shift much of the blame for what he was being accused of, to Derek Balogh. This change of direction and the lack of any previous mention on Balogh was not lost on the magistrate. It was noted that “Mr Jensen failed to explain Balogh’s involvement during the liability hearing in the manner he has purported to do now.”

For instance:

Jensen’s submission to the penalty hearing was that he was introduced to the parents by Derek Balogh and that the parents were Balogh’s clients.

Jensen’s affidavit claimed he did not prepare ‘the affidavit referred to in the plaintiff’s evidence, as that document was prepared by Derek Balogh’.

Lolita Gunning (friend of Jensen) said that she observed Mr Balogh in Mr Jensen’s office using his computers and that he would dictate to Mr Jensen because Mr Jensen had trouble structuring sentences. She said she felt that Mr Balogh ‘was using and abusing [Mr Jensen’s] generosity’.

Ms Summers (friend of Jensen) maintained that Mr Jensen’s ‘situation’ with the VLSB and the HCC were ‘orchestrated’ by certain individuals including Mr Balogh. Mr Balogh was in Mr Jensen’s office using his equipment and computers almost every day. ‘Because of [Mr Jensen’s] gentle nature he would not say anything & he was used & abused by them all. Derek Balogh in particular controlled, manipulated & abused [Mr Jensen’s] kindness in the past’.

The sentencing document references Derek Balogh 35 times but because Jensen had failed to mention Derek’s involvement in the contempt hearing, the magistrate largely disregarded his involvement. Could it be that Derek was the person “helping” Dennis Jensen prepare for his liability hearing, and someone else had helped Jensen prepare for the sentencing hearing?

The judgement of the court was:

(a) Mr Jensen is convicted of criminal contempt of court.

(b) He is sentenced to 3 months’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for a period of 12 months.

(c) Mr Jenson pay the VLSB’s costs to be assessed on an indemnity basis.

But What about Spiros?

Channel 9’s A Current Affair was there to try to interview Dennis Jensen upon leaving the court after sentencing. Guess who was there with Dennis?

Spiros’ involvement with the preparation of Jensen’s evidence presented at the sentencing hearing is unknown but Jensen did have assistance from a “Mackenzie friend” and Spiros can be clearly seen in the video as part of the Jensen group as he leads the them away from the courthouse along with Cal Jenson (Dennis’ son), Dennis and others.

Spiros has also not been seen on Derek Balogh’s Zoom meetings for many months. It is probably safe to assume that Spiros was the McKenzie Friend who assisted Jensen with the written submissions and fresh affidavits that attempted to throw Derek Balogh under the bus (where he probably belonged).

what is Dennis up to now?

Undeterred, Dennis is now running a website that supposedly helps companies work out if they have been paying too much in Workcover insurance premiums. It is unclear how a man who claimed in court that he could “hardly read or write” would run such a business. A Dunn and Bradstreet directory page shows the company as having varied interests including “Scientific” and “Accounting”. A website advertising accountants shows the JTA Corporation as being accountants and auditors.

A final Question

How is it that Dennis Jensen has been stopped from being a fake lawyer yet Derek Balogh has not? Anyone familiar with Derek Balogh knows he charges for legal advice, for writing affidavits, for courses in how to win in courts when it comes to fines and council rates. He runs Zoom meetings 3 – 4 nights per week advertising his services, but is always careful to say “I’m not a lawyer”. How can saying “I’m not a lawyer” but then giving legal advice (and charging for it) remove guilt? It’s the same as saying “I’m not violent” and then punching someone on the nose. Just because you say it, doesn’t make it true.

Derek has been reported to Scamwatch and the VLSB many times but as yet no action has been taken. The video below is a recording of a Zoom call where Derek runs mock trails to coach participants into using scripts he has prepared for use in court. He is handing out legal advice and getting paid for it.

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