B.C. lawyer fined $12,000 for their part in immigration fraud | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. lawyer fined $12,000 for their part in immigration fraud

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A B.C. lawyer has been fined $12,000 for unwittingly submitting fraudulent immigration paperwork.

According to a March 9 Law Society of B.C. decision, Vancouver-based lawyer Kashif A. Ahmed unknowingly submitted falsified documentation with permanent resident applications from immigrants looking at moving to the Yukon.

The lawyer was involved in working with clients applying for the Yukon Business Nominee Program – an initiative from the Yukon government that encouraged skilled international entrepreneurs to move there.

Of 30 applications from clients he submitted 29 were found to have had nomination certificates that were fraudulent.

Five people were ultimately charged with an alleged immigration fraud scheme – including one government worker.

The Crown alleges a former director of the nominee program took bribes to issue fraudulent nomination certificates.

Four B.C. residents are currently on trial, although the Yukon government worker, Ian David Young, appears to have gone on the run.

"It is not alleged that the lawyer was a party to the alleged immigration scheme or any criminal offence," the decision reads.

READ MORE: B.C. lawyer who 'misappropriated' $650,000 hangs onto licence

However, the Law Society does find that Ahmed committed professional misconduct in his handling of the files.

According to the decision, between 2012 and 2015 an unnamed company forwarded Ahmed 30 immigration law clients to help them apply for the Yukon work program.

"(The) Company or family members of the clients provided the lawyer with completed retainer agreements," the decision reads. "The Lawyer did not review retainer agreements with the clients in person or by telephone, and did not maintain records of the referrals or initial instructions provided to him by (the) Company."

The decision says almost all of the lawyer's retainer fees were paid for by the company.

"The Lawyer did not ask why (the) Company paid the retainer fees, or who the retainer funds belonged to. In the majority of cases, the remaining balances of the lawyer’s bills were paid by (the) company," the decision reads.

The Law Society says the lawyer also used clients' family members or the company to assist with translation when he was supposed to use a certified independent interpreter to speak with the clients.

In mitigating his punishment, the Law Society says Ahmed was a junior lawyer with approximately one to six years of experience at the time and acknowledged his misconduct and is remorseful.

Ahmed signed a consent agreement with the regulator admitting to his conduct.

READ MORE: B.C. lawyer that accepted $45,000 in $20 bills gets suspended

Along with the $12,000 fine, he will also have to complete six continuing professional development credits by the end of the year.

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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