B.C. lawyer 'misappropriated' $63,000 then 'failed to cooperate' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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B.C. lawyer 'misappropriated' $63,000 then 'failed to cooperate'

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A B.C. lawyer who "misappropriated" $63,000, and then failed to cooperate with the investigation, has been found to have committed professional misconduct.

According to a Feb. 24 Law Society of B.C. decision, Vancouver lawyer Rene Joan Gantzert "misappropriated, or improperly withdrew" $62,521 of her client's money for her trust fund.

The decision says the incident took place between December 2018 and July 2019, and Gantzert gave up her licence to practice law in July 2020.

Gantzert has not responded to the Law Society regarding its disciplinary action.

According to the decision, the misappropriated money stems from a personal injury claim that was concluded with a $481,291 settlement.

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

While many of the parties were paid off, not all the money went where it was supposed to.

"The (law Society) Panel finds that (Gantzert) misappropriated, or improperly withdrew some or all of $62,521.58 in client trust funds when he knew or ought to have known he was not entitled to some or all of those funds," the decision reads. "The misappropriation of trust funds has consistently been found to be among the most serious forms of professional misconduct."

Then when the Law Society began investigating the allegation, Gantzert "failed to cooperate."

The decision says between May and December 2021, Gantzert ignored an email and a letter.

"This conduct constitutes professional misconduct," the decision reads.

Ultimately, the Law Society ruled Gantzert's conduct constituted professional misconduct.

READ MORE: Kelowna lawyer fined $5,000 for failing to verify clients' identity

What penalty the lawyer receives will be decided at a later date.


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