A former lawyer in Winnipeg has been sentenced to 18 months in jail forattempting toextort money from two former clients.

Justice Shawn Greenberg said during sentencing Thursday that Ingrid Chen's actions take "professional misconduct to a new level."

Chen was convicted last year of two counts of attempted extortion.

In 1999, the court heard, Chen hired a man named Pat Armstrong to collect money from two men she felt owed her money.

An investigation by police included wiretapped conversations that were played in court, in which Chen was heard directing Armstrong to use force to collect the money.

In the recordings, she talked about wanting to hurt the two people.

Neither victim was injured because of Chen's instructions, though Armstrong testified that he later lied to Chen and toldher he had slapped around one target.

Chen's lawyerstried todismissher actions as a few stupid mistakes, but Greenberg characterized that as a"gross understatement."

Chen had previously received a one-year conditional sentence after being convicted of smuggling a man across the border into the United States.

Greenberg cited Chen's previous sentence— and the fact that she was a lawyer at the time of the attempted extortion— in handing down the 18-month jail sentence.

Chen worked as an immigration lawyer until the Manitoba Law Society suspended her after she was arrested in 1999.