Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: January 7, 2021

Samuel Kwadwo Ansong Osei

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:

1.  In or between approximately April 2016 and December 2017, in relation to your client MP, and companies with which he was associated, including F Group and C Ltd., you used your trust account to receive and disburse some or all of $2,147,311.92, as set out in Schedule “A” (the “Transactions”), and failed to do one or more of the following in connection with the Transactions:

(a)  provide substantial or any legal services;

(b)  make reasonable inquiries about the circumstances, including, but not limited to:

(i)  the subject matter and objectives of your retainer;

(ii)  the source of the funds;

(iii)  the purpose of the payment of the funds; and

(iv)  the reason for the payment of the funds to or through your trust account; and

(c)  make a record of the results of any inquiries about the circumstances.

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

2.  In or between approximately March 2016 and June 2018, in relation to your client MP, you engaged in activity that you knew or ought to have known could assist or encourage in dishonesty, crime or fraud, contrary to rule 3.2-7 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, when you did one or more of the following:

(a)  entered into a monthly flat-fee legal services agreement with the client;

(b)  failed to obtain, record, and verify the client’s identification information, contrary to one or more of Rules 3-100, 3-102, and 3-105 of the Law Society Rules;

(c)  disbursed funds from your trust account in circumstances where you had not taken reasonable steps to verify the identity of the client;

(d)  made representations to various “investment firms” to the effect that money you were paying to them on behalf of the client belonged to C Ltd. and the client, when you had not made sufficient inquiries to determine whether such representations were true; and

(e)  facilitated a suspicious transaction between MP and AC, when, at the request of your client, you witnessed the exchange of $210,000 in cash and later accepted a bank draft in the amount of $200,000, which you deposited and disbursed from your trust account.

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

3.  In or about July 2017, with respect to a crypto currency transaction in which your client MP was to receive funds from an unrepresented party, you failed to comply with the requirements of rule 7.2-9 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia by failing to do one or both of the following:

(a)  urge the unrepresented party, AC, to obtain independent legal representation; and

(b)  make it clear to AC that you were acting exclusively in the interests of MP.

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

4.  In or about November 2017, with respect to a crypto currency transaction in which your client MP was to receive funds from an unrepresented party, you failed to comply with the requirements of rule 7.2-9 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia by failing to do one or both of the following:

(a)  urge the unrepresented party, DL, to obtain independent legal representation; and

(b)  make it clear to DL that you were acting exclusively in the interests of MP.

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

5.  In or about December 2017, with respect to a crypto currency transaction in which your client MP was to receive funds from an unrepresented party, you failed to comply with the requirements of rule 7.2-9 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia by failing to do one or both of the following:

(a)  urge the unrepresented party, JL, to obtain independent legal representation; and

(b)  make it clear to JL that you were acting exclusively in the interests of MP.

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