A prominent former lawyer in Surrey, B.C., has been banned from practicing law for more than a decade after misusing $450,000 in funding sent for his client, who was then trying to immigrate to the province.
Mohammud Massood Joomratty has agreed not to practice law in the province for 12 years as of July 29.
In announcing his suspension Thursday, the Law Society of B.C. — which oversees the profession — said Joomratty had violated professional boundaries while handling his client's immigration application.
The client hired Joomratty to apply for a visitor visa in 2017 and later a work visa in 2019.
Joomratty never confirmed whether his client was actually living in B.C. when filing paperwork with the federal government, according to the society.
"[Joomratty] provided information to Service Canada that the client had rented a place in British Columbia, had established himself in British Columbia, and had moved to British Columbia, when he had not exercised due diligence and did not have confirmation that these representations were true," the consent agreement read.
The society also found Joomratty misled an unnamed foreign bank into transferring $450,000 into his own trust account for the purported purchase of a condo for the client, when there "was no actual condominium purchase planned."
After the money arrived, Joomratty transferred $370,000 to his company. He then passed the money on to another client, the agreement said, though he did eventually pay it back.
The original client got a new lawyer in March 2020, who complained to the society.
The law society found Joomratty acted improperly without his client's consent, violated conflict of interest requirements and didn't independently confirm key information about his client before filing paperwork with Service Canada.
It also found Joomratty made statements to a client that he "knew or ought to have known were false and misleading."
Joomratty paid back the money he misappropriated and didn't have a prior discipline record in his 24-year career. He shut down his firm earlier this month.