B.C. lawyer accused of laundering $23.5M | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. lawyer accused of laundering $23.5M

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A unidentified B.C. lawyer stands accused of allowing criminal clients to use their trust account to launder $23.5 million.

Four of the clients have already pleaded guilty in the US to money laundering and conspiracy to distribute misbranded prescription drugs.

According to the Law Society of B.C., the unnamed lawyer is set for a hearing sometime this spring.

Currently, the lawyer's name is redacted and the clients are only referred to by initials.

The Law Society decision says the B.C. lawyer allowed five clients to use the trust account to receive or disburse $4,866,976 and US$6,508,949, totalling roughly $13.5 million between October 2011 and November 2018.

"You engaged in activities that assisted in or encouraged dishonesty, crime or fraud," the decision says.

The Law Society says the lawyer should have known that one or more of the clients were being investigated in the United States regarding criminal offences.

The decision says four clients entered guilty pleas in the US relating to money laundering and conspiracy to distribute wholesale quantities of misbranded prescription drugs for the foreign market.

The Law Society accuses the lawyer of failing to be "on guard" against "becoming the tool or dupe of an unscrupulous client."

READ MORE: Chair of Canucks autism charity under investigation for fraud

Separately, the lawyer stands accused of assisting in or encouraging "dishonesty, crime or fraud" between September 2016 and January 2020.

The Law Society says $10,159,297 passed through the trust account.

One of the clients was designated as a "significant transnational criminal organization" by U.S. authorities.

Other clients were indicted in the U.S. for criminal offences relating to mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Lawyers now have until March 2 to submit their evidence for a hearing to take place later this year.

READ MORE: Vernon lawyer under investigation by law society

None of the allegations have been proven.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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