Vancouver Lawyer Misappropriated CA$8m of Client Funds for Gambling Addiction

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A Vancouver lawyer misappropriated CA$8m (US$5.9m) of his client’s costs to bankroll his gambling addiction. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Trust money fiddle

A Vancouver lawyer has admitted to misappropriating much than CA$8m (US$5.9m) from his clients’ spot costs to bankroll his gambling addiction.

The Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) took to X to stock existent property lawyer Russell Sean McDonough’s admittance of guilt which earned him a seven-year believe ban:

McDonough signed his consent statement pinch nan British Columbia lawyers’ regulator LSBC past week. He confessed to master misconduct successful 34 cases of misappropriation complete a 22-month play starting 2021.

McDonough admitted he started pocketing money from his clients aft racking up a important gambling indebtedness and maxing retired each his lines of credit.

Audit reveals ruse

According to nan regulator’s summary, McDonough’s ruse came to ray “on aliases astir October 16, 2022” erstwhile nan LSBC’s Trust Assurance Department audited his practice. The compliance audit and McDonough’s confession revealed he paid backmost complete CA$6m (US$4.4m) of nan CA$8,075,152.80 (US$5964913.49) successful misappropriated funds, including CA$308,000 (US$227,511) he won gambling.

he would rumor spot cheques to his rule patient and past usage nan money to gamble

During nan compliance audit, McDonough told an LSBC auditor that he had a terrible gambling addiction and had utilized nan spot costs to bankroll his compulsion to gamble. The lawyer confessed he would rumor spot cheques to his rule patient and past usage nan money to bet successful nan belief he’d person a “breakthrough” triumph that would screen his debts and nan misappropriated funds.

In a missive to nan LSBC successful April 2023, McDonough stated gambling had “completely consumed” his life. He explained that while his thought processes and actions astatine nan clip didn’t look logical “I felt arsenic if I had nary different choice. It was existent compulsion.” McDonough besides stated he was “full of remorse and shame” complete his actions.

Turning complete a caller leaf

In October 2022, a expert diagnosed McDonough pinch Gambling Disorder/Pathological Gambling. According to nan summary, he hasn’t gambled since and checked successful for residential curen successful November 2022.

can “cause an different honorable personification to misappropriate customer funds.”

The expert who diagnosed McDonough told nan LSBC that gambling addiction tin “cause an different honorable personification to misappropriate customer funds.”

A Vancouver psychiatrist who treated nan lawyer told nan LSBC McDonough’s “general intelligence level, acquisition arsenic a lawyer, and knowing of nan risks of his behaviour some to himself and his family were wholly effaced” during his gambling addiction.

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