Your lawyer is probably the last person you can expect to do something shady but sometimes people are simply not who they present themselves to be. Earlier this month in Rockland, Ontario, a lawyer had his license suspended after it was discovered that around $4 million in funds held trust for the lawyer’s clients was missing.
Tale of the Missing $4 Million
The lawyer, Joseph Stephane Langlois, have close to 20 years work experience. His colleague, a senior partner at Charron Langlois LLP shared that he is in shock after finding out about the discrepancies in the bank accounts for Langlois’ clients.
Pierre Charron, Langlois’s partner at the firm says that he finds it personally deeply distasteful to deal with Langlois but he has no choice. He shared that he’s at a loss for words and that he is still in a state of utter and unbelievable shock over the issue.
A notice of motion was filed with the Law Society Tribunal wherein allegations state that only $220,000 was left of the about $4 million in funds that Langlois was holding for his clients in trust. A recent review of accounts was the instrument for the discovery of the discrepancy.
In the motion, it was also claimed that Langlois made an admission to a Law Society investigator about where the money went. He said that he spent close to $1 million of the money in trust for his law firm and personal use.
Langlois and his lawyer attended a hearing in Toronto earlier this month. In the hearing, a panel ordered Langlois not to practice law as his license is temporarily suspended for the duration of the investigation. It is to be noted that Langlois practiced family and commercial law.
Dealing with the Backlash
In the meantime, Pierre Charron created a new law firm with a new name in an effort to distance himself from his former partner. His firm’s name is Charron Pilon Sauve and all 3 partners in the new firm were able to retain 95% of their clients after the discovery of the issue with the missing funds, shared Charron.
As for now, the Law Society is continuing its investigation. Charron shared that he cannot comment on who and how many clients are affected by the missing funds.
Pierre Charron has been in practicing law for 31 years. He shared that from his first day as a lawyer, it is understood that a lawyer simply should treat dealing with another person’s money as a sacred duty. Messing with it is certainly out of the question.
DRS Construction’s owner Gerry Dube said Langlois has been his lawyer for the ongoing Ottawa Hospital fraud lawsuit the past year and got more than $100,000 in legal fees from him. He retained new lawyers since this situation has surfaced and said that it certainly surprised everyone in Rockland.
Langlois is represented by Matthew Gourlay from the Henein Hutchinson LLP firm in Toronto. He declined to leave comments about the case and said that the investigation is still on-going, saying that they need time to understand the issue.