Law Society satisfied with charges against Wirick



    VANCOUVER, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - The Law Society of British Columbia is
satisfied that criminal charges have been laid against Martin Wirick for the
misappropriation of real estate and mortgage funds.
    The Law Society disbarred Wirick in 2002, after receiving information
about the misdirection of funds in several real estate transactions. The
society took immediate steps to protect the victims and approved nearly
$40 million in compensation to people and organizations affected.
    "The Law Society went to great lengths to protect the public interest in
this case," said John J.L. Hunter, QC, President of the Law Society. "We have
provided $38.4 million in compensation to victims, we disbarred Mr. Wirick,
and we adopted new rules and guidelines to help prevent this from ever
happening again."
    "As a result of the actions of the Law Society and its members, not one
of the hundreds of these innocent homeowners lost their homes," said Hunter.
    As part of the new rules and regulations, the Law Society has
strengthened its Trust Assurance Program, which includes new reporting
requirements for lawyers, enhanced rules regulating the handling of trust
funds and an in-field audit program for regular and spot audits to ensure
compliance.

    Founded in 1869, the Law Society of BC is the governing body of the legal
profession in BC. Under the provisions of the Legal Profession Act, the Law
Society is responsible for the licensing, professional conduct and discipline
of the more than 10,000 lawyers in BC.

    Additional Background

    Wirick began practicing law in 1979. The misdirection of client funds
began in 1999, with the help of client Tarsem Gill. Gill would purchase a
property, redevelop it and sell it. Wirick would receive the sale proceeds
from solicitors or notaries representing the purchasers, but instead of paying
off the prior encumbrances, he misdirected the down payment and mortgage funds
to cover other obligations of Gill and his companies.

    In May 2002, Wirick wrote to the Law Society resigning his membership and
admitting to breaches of undertakings in several real estate transactions. Two
months later he declared bankruptcy, listing contingent liabilities of about
$52 million.





For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Dana Bales, Communications
Officer, (604) 443-5708 or 1-800-903-5300 toll-free in BC, dbales@lsbc.org;
Cara McGregor, Communications Officer, (604) 697-5829 or 1-800-903-5300
toll-free in BC, cmcgregor@lsbc.org

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LAW SOCIETY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

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