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B.C. real estate lawyer admits to misappropriating trust funds

Surrey lawyer Tejinder Singh Dhillon admitted to professional misconduct involving trust accounts and real estate transactions.
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Tejinder Singh Dhillon will face disciplinary proceedings for his professional misconduct at a future hearing.

A Surrey-based lawyer has admitted to the Law Society of BC that he committed dozens of regulatory violations, including misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars in real estate transactions.

Between March 2015 and July 2017, a society hearing panel found, among several instances of misconduct, Tejinder Singh Dhillon “misappropriated, improperly withdrew, or improperly authorized the withdrawal of trust funds” from his trust accounts when there were insufficient funds held to the credit of his clients.

For instance, in March 2015, Dhillon improperly withdrew $1 million from a pooled trust account that only had $825,000 credit to it, to complete a real estate transaction while working for Dhillon & Company Law Corporation.

In February 2016, Dhillon “misappropriated, improperly withdrew, or improperly authorized” the withdrawal from a trust account of $300,000, when he was not entitled to.

He was also found to have moved tens of thousands of dollars from one client’s trust fund to another, to cover shortfalls, that the society’s citation does not detail.

Dhillon also inserted his own interests into client matters when he allowed his wife’s corporation to lend clients $50,000 without disclosing the conflict and having the clients receive independent legal representation. Nor did he have the clients’ consent, society investigators found.

Dhillon also failed to receive legal fees properly and failed to retain supporting documentation for his trust accounts in all instances. Nor did he properly supervise his bookkeeper and office manager. Subsequently, he failed to provide accounting records requested by the society.

Dhillon will face disciplinary proceedings for his professional misconduct at a future hearing.

The Law Society of BC is the legal profession’s self-regulator. The society has faced criticism, such as at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering, for not being a reporting entity to federal money laundering and terrorist financing reporting requirements, via the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.

The society maintains it need not do so, as to maintain solicitor-client privilege — a right obtained in a 2015 Supreme Court of Canada ruling.

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