Former Kamloops lawyer disbarred after misappropriating client funds | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Former Kamloops lawyer disbarred after misappropriating client funds

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February 19, 2020 - 5:30 PM

A former Kamloops lawyer has been disbarred by the Law Society of B.C. after misappropriating more than $330,000 from her pooled trust account with clients on more than 500 occasions.

Along with misappropriating money from clients, Seanna Michelle McKinley lied to the Law Society in an attempt to cover her wrongdoings, the society said. She attempted to mislead the society by providing falsified information about her handling of client funds and receipts. She submitted a heavily redacted client account ledger and then further attempted to mislead society auditors by making 528 backdated bills, 447 backdated cover letters and 480 backdated electronic transfer forms. She also said she didn’t operate her own trust account when she knew the statement was false, the society said.

Four allegations of professional misconduct led the Law Society of B.C. to administratively suspended McKinley on April 11, 2016, and she became a former member on Jan. 1, 2017 after not paying her membership fees. Nearly two years later in December 2018, the Law Society served her with, citing the four allegations of misconduct, and notified her that failure to respond would be admitting guilt.

McKinley has not been in contact with the Law Society of B.C. since January of 2018, and failed to confirm her current contact information or attend her hearing. The society obtained an order for substituted service on Nov. 16, 2018, and has since served the documents to her Law Society of B.C. member portal and sent correspondence to her last known address to inform her of the notices posted.

McKinley did not respond to any of the notices. On July 17, the Law Society served her a notice outlining the date, time and place of the disciplinary hearing to be held on October 8, 2019, regardless if she showed up or not. She didn’t respond to any of the notices.

Three times between July and September, the Law Society of B.C. sent her letters reminding her of the upcoming disciplinary hearing. When she didn’t show up on her Oct. 8 hearing date, the court was adjourned for 15 minutes in case she was late in arriving. She didn’t show, and the hearing went on without her.

At the hearing, McKinley was disbarred from the society, and she must pay $12,743 by May 1 in total costs and disbursements to the Law Society of B.C.

To read the full decision, click here.

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