Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued:  September 25, 2018

Eric John Becker

Citations are authorized by the Law Society of BC's Discipline Committee and list allegations against a lawyer that will be considered at a discipline hearing. Please note that allegations in a citation are unproven until a discipline hearing panel has determined their validity.

Nature of conduct to be inquired into:

Misappropriation

1.  Between approximately February 6, 2012 and September 3, 2014, you misappropriated or improperly withdrew or authorized the withdrawal of client trust funds contrary to Law Society Rule 3-56(1) [now Rule 3-64(1)], being some or all of the 44 charges to clients paid from trust and particularized in Schedule A, when you knew or ought to have known that those charges were not properly charged to the clients.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

Failure to Deliver a Bill

2.  Between approximately December 11, 2011 and January 4, 2012, you authorized withdrawal of client trust funds to pay fees or disbursements in relation to one or more of the two clients identified in Schedule B without delivering a bill to the person charged, contrary to s. 69 of the Legal Profession Act or without first preparing and immediately delivering a bill to the client contrary to Law Society Rule 3-57(2) [now Rule 3-65(2)] or both.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

Use of Pre-signed Trust Cheques

3.  Between approximately January 2012 and September 2014, you failed to exercise due care for the preservation of funds held in trust by having 70 blank, pre-signed trust cheques in the custody of an employee or employees, contrary to one or more of Law Society Rule 3-56(2) [now Rule 3-64(5)], Chapter 7.1, rule 3 of the Professional Conduct Handbook then in force, and rule 3.5-2 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

Insurance Binder Fees – Misappropriation or Improper billing

4.  Between approximately January 2012 and September 2014, you misappropriated client trust funds or improperly withdrew or authorized the withdrawal of client trust funds contrary to Law Society Rule 3-56(1) [now Rule 3-64(1)], being some or all of the 205 charges particularized in Schedule C, when you knew or ought to have known that those charges were not properly charged to the clients.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

5.  In the alternative to allegation number 4, between approximately January 2012 and September 2014, you issued accounts in relation to some or all of the 205 clients identified in Schedule C that improperly billed for disbursements by charging for disbursements not actually incurred or by charging amounts for disbursements that exceeded the actual amount of the disbursement, contrary to one or more of s. 69 of the Legal Profession Act, Chapter 9, rule 7 of the Professional Conduct Handbook then in force, and rule 3.6-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

DL

6.  In or about April 2013, in relation to your client, DL, on one or more occasions, you improperly withdrew or authorized the withdrawal of $5,144.32 held in trust, contrary to one or more of Law Society Rules 3-56(1), 3-57(7) and 3-60(c) [now Rules 3-64(1), 3-65(7) and 3-68(c)], when you knew or ought to have known that those funds were being held in trust pursuant to an agreement with opposing counsel not to distribute the funds until a further agreement or court order.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

7.  On or about April 22, 2013, in relation to your client, DL, you failed to report a trust shortage that exceeded $2,500, contrary to one or more of Law Society Rule 3-66(2) [now Rule 3-74(2)] and rule 7.1-3 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

AT

8.  On or about September 6, 2016, in relation to your former client AT, you misappropriated $1,572.95, or in the alternative, improperly charged $7,774.84 to the credit card of your former client, AT, when he had agreed to pay you only $6,201.89, contrary to rule 2.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.