Ottawa

Rockland lawyer Stéphane Langlois suspended over alleged misuse of clients' millions

A Rockland lawyer has had his license to practise law suspended as Ontario's law society investigates allegations he misused millions of dollars of his client's money.

Accounts that should hold $4M only showing $220K, suspension motion claims

Stéphane Langlois was suspended at a law tribunal hearing on Sept. 1, 2016. (Facebook)

Rockland, Ont., lawyer StéphaneLanglois has been temporarily suspended from practising law as part of the ongoing investigation into his alleged mishandling of his clients' money.

Langlois's own law firm reported him to the Law Society of Upper Canada last week after colleagues became concerned over the whereabouts of approximately $4 million held in trust for his clients, according to the motion asking for his suspension.

According to the motion, those accounts are only showing a balance of about $220,000.

Langlois told a law society investigator he spent about $1 million of that money to pay the law firm's bills and for personal use, according to the motion.

In his affidavit, law society investigator Prospero Vito said he was told by employees at Langlois's firm that he gambled, lived an "extravagant" lifestyle and had many cars.

Vito also said he was told Langlois had recently become engaged to a woman from Brazil and had been asking about transferring money there.

At a hearing in Toronto on Thursday, Langlois's licence to practise law was temporarily suspended as the investigation continues, known as an "interlocutory" suspension.

"Interlocutory suspensions can be sought to address serious risk to the public that becomes apparent before an investigation is complete and before the evidence is available to prosecute on the merits," said a society spokesperson.

"In all matters, the law society's focus is on protecting the public."

The next hearing dates will be set once the investigation is complete, the society said Thursday afternoon.

Clients moving to new firm

Pierre Charron worked with Stéphane Langlois and is now in the process of creating a new firm without him. (Denis Babin/Radio-Canada)

Langlois practices real estate, commercial and family law, as well as civil litigation. According to the affadavit, he was called to the bar in 1998 and hasn't been disciplined by the law society before.

Members of his firm, Charron Langlois LLP, are in the process of restructuring to a new firm, Charron, Pilon and Sauvé.

"Every client that's involved or every client that has an ongoing file, we've contacted them and we've let them know what their options are," said Langlois's former partner Pierre Charron.

"Those that have wanted to, we've offered to take over their file in the new firm, I would say the vast majority so far have said [they would] — by vast majority I mean 95 per cent."