Rockland lawyer Stéphane Langlois disbarred for misappropriating millions in clients' money

·2 min read
The Law Society of Ontario on Friday disbarred Stéphane Langlois, after nearly $4 million disappeared from trust funds in September 2016. (Facebook - image credit)
The Law Society of Ontario on Friday disbarred Stéphane Langlois, after nearly $4 million disappeared from trust funds in September 2016. (Facebook - image credit)

The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) tribunal has disbarred Rockland lawyer Stéphane Langlois, more than four years after millions in clients' money went missing.

Following a hearing on Friday, Langlois was found to have misappropriated more than $3.2 million from the law firm trust account between January 2015 and August 2016. He also inappropriately took more than $35,000 while acting as an estate trustee between November 2011 and May 2013, the tribunal determined.

Langlois has been ordered to repay the LSO's Compensation Fund more than $2.1 million — the amount the society paid in compensation to 11 claimants who qualified.

He also must pay $32,000 in costs to the LSO over five years, beginning a year after the order.

Ontario Provincial Police have also been investigating since August 2016, after associates in Charron Langlois LLP in Rockland made formal complaints to the law society against their colleague.

Licence suspended in 2016

One by one, clients were called into the office by the remaining lawyers to be told their money had gone missing, and asked to make individual complaints to police and the LSO.

The society supended Langlois's licence September 1, 2016, after an initial investigation. He hasn't been charged with any criminal offences.

Langlois told an LSO investigator he spent about $1 million of the money to pay the law firm's bills and for personal use, according to the LSO report.

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.

CBC had also obtained a transcript of pretrial testimony made by Langlois under oath in 2018, suggesting money may have been missing a year earlier, in 2015, despite an LSO audit that same year. Langlois alleged in the transcript he had tried to bribe that auditor to "look the other way."

In 2019, CBC tracked some 75 lawsuits from people trying to reclaim their money.