Citation issued: February 25, 2013

william terrance faminoff 

Citations are issued by the Law Society of BC's Discipline Committee and list allegations against a lawyer which 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:

Misrepresentation to Law Society By Backdating Statements of Account

1. In or around January 2 to 4, 2009, you created or caused the creation of some or all of 44 Statements of Account identified in Schedule I (Column A) that you backdated and, in doing so, misrepresented to the Law Society that those Statements of Account had been issued and delivered to your client on or about the date set out on the Statement of Account, when you knew they had not been issued on that date.

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

Improper Handling of Client Trust Funds

2. Between approximately May 2007 and August 2008, you received funds from clients in trust and deposited them directly into your general account, on some or all of 10 occasions identified in Schedule I (Column B), purportedly in payment of fees for services, when you had not completed all of the services and earned the fees and had not delivered a bill or issued a receipt containing sufficient particulars, contrary to Rules 3-51(1) and 3-63(3).

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

3. On or about February 2, 2007, you withdrew client funds from your trust account and deposited them into your general account, purportedly in payment of fees for services rendered to your client SD, when you had not completed all of the services and earned the fees and had not delivered a bill, contrary to Rules 3- 56(1) and 3-57(2).

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

4. Between approximately February 2007 and November 2008, you received funds from clients and deposited them into your general account, on some or all of 33 occasions identified in Schedule I (Column D), purportedly in payment of fees for services, when you had not delivered a bill or issued a receipt containing sufficient particulars, contrary to Rule 3-63(3).

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

5. Between approximately February 2007 and December 2008, you withdrew client funds from your trust account and deposited them into your general account, on some or all of 10 occasions identified in Schedule I (Column E), purportedly in payment of fees for services, when you had not delivered a bill, contrary to Rule 3-57(2).

6. On or about January 25, 2007, you withdrew $1,695 from your trust account for payment for fees on behalf of your client, M Restaurant, when there were not sufficient funds held to the credit of that client, contrary to Rule 3-56(1.2)(b).

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

Failure to Maintain Accounting Records in Accordance with Division 7, Part 3 of the Law Society Rules

7. Between January 2007 and June 2010, you failed to maintain your records in accordance with Division 7, Part 3 of the Law Society Rules by some or all of the following:

(a) you did not record in a book of original entry for your general account the name of each recipient for each disbursement, contrary to Rule 3-61(1)(a);

(b) you did not record in your accounts receivable ledgers for your general account the balance owed by each client contrary to Rule 3-61(1)(b);

(c) you did not complete trust reconciliations for the months January 2007 through June 2007, contrary to Rule 3-65(2)(a);

(d) you did not reconcile, in your monthly trust reconciliations for the months July 2007 through December 2008, the total of all unexpended balances of funds held in trust for clients as they appear in the trust ledgers with the total of balances held in your trust bank account, and you did not provide an explanation for the difference, contrary to Rule 3-65(1);

(e) you did not maintain a cash receipt book of duplicate receipts from approximately January 30, 2008 to October 9, 2008, contrary to Rule 3-61.1.

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

Breach of Undertakings

8. Between January 2007 and April 2010, you were bound by undertakings imposed by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (“ICBC”) requiring you to obtain your clients’ signatures on releases and return them to ICBC before you disbursed settlement funds. You breached those undertakings on 11 occasions when you disbursed settlement funds to your clients, or to yourself in payment of your fees, when you had not obtained signed releases and returned them to ICBC, contrary to Chapter 11, Rule 7 of the Professional Conduct Handbook. The particulars of the transactions are:

(a) On or about January 25, 2007, you received from ICBC settlement funds on behalf of your client, MT, that were subject to the undertaking. You breached the undertaking when you disbursed some of the funds to pay your fees, by trust cheques dated February 6, 2007 and May 28, 2007, before your client signed the release and you returned it to ICBC.

(b) On or about May 29, 2008, you received from ICBC settlement funds on behalf of your client, CK, that were subject to the undertaking. You breached the undertaking when you disbursed the funds to pay your fees, by trust cheque dated May 30, 2008, and to pay the balance of the settlement proceeds to your client, by trust cheque dated October 7, 2008, before you returned the signed release to ICBC.

(c) On or about May 25, 2009, you received from ICBC settlement funds on behalf of your client, DV, that were subject to the undertaking. You breached the undertaking when you disbursed the funds to pay your fees, by trust cheque dated May 25, 2009, and to pay the balance of the settlement proceeds to your client, by trust cheque dated May 27, 2009, before you returned the signed release to ICBC.

(d) On or about July 23, 2009, you received from ICBC settlement funds on behalf of your client, NT, that were subject to the undertaking. You breached the undertaking when you disbursed the funds to pay your fees, by trust cheque dated July 24, 2009, and to pay the balance of the settlement proceeds to your client, by trust cheque dated July 24, 2009, before you returned the signed release to ICBC.

(e) On or about December 17, 2009, you received from ICBC settlement funds on behalf of your client, IM, that were subject to the undertaking. You breached the undertaking when you disbursed the funds to pay your fees, by trust cheque dated December 18, 2009, and to pay the balance of the settlement proceeds to your client, by trust cheque dated December 18, 2009, before you returned the signed release to ICBC.

(f) On or about July 11, 2008, you received from ICBC settlement funds on behalf of your client, AM, that were subject to the undertaking. You breached the undertaking when you disbursed the funds to pay your fees, by trust cheque dated July 11, 2008, and to pay the balance of the settlement proceeds to your client, by trust cheque dated July 11, 2008, before your client signed the release and you returned it to ICBC.

(g) On or about March 13, 2008, you received from ICBC settlement funds on behalf of your client, SR, that were subject to the undertaking. You breached the undertaking when you disbursed some of the funds to pay your fees, by trust cheque dated March 18, 2008, before your client signed the release and you returned it to ICBC.

(h) On or about March 13, 2008, you received from ICBC settlement funds on behalf of your client, MR, that were subject to the undertaking. You breached the undertaking when you disbursed some of the funds to pay your fees, by trust cheque dated March 18, 2008 before your client signed the release and you returned it to ICBC.

(i) On or about June 2, 2008, you received from ICBC settlement funds on behalf of your client, TG, that were subject to the undertaking. You breached the undertaking when you disbursed the funds to pay your fees, by trust cheque deposited on June 13, 2008, and to pay the balance of the settlement proceeds to your client, by trust cheque dated July 24, 2008, before you returned the signed release to ICBC.

(j) On or about April 22, 2010, you received from ICBC settlement funds on behalf of your client, MB, that were subject to the undertaking. You breached the undertaking when you disbursed some of the funds to pay your fees, by trust cheque dated April 23, 2010, before you returned the signed release to ICBC.

(k) On or about February 8, 2010, you received from ICBC settlement funds on behalf of your client, AD, that were subject to the undertaking. You breached the undertaking when you disbursed the funds to pay your fees, by trust cheque dated February 8, 2010, and to pay the balance of the settlement proceeds to your client, by trust cheque dated February 8, 2010, before you returned the signed release to ICBC.

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