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B.C. lawyer facing money-laundering charges awaits hearings

The Law Society of B.C. has yet to schedule a hearing for a B.C. lawyer facing money-laundering charges in Arizona.
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Faiyaz Dean graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2003.

A regulatory hearing for a B.C. lawyer facing money-laundering charges in Arizona will be scheduled soon, according to the Law Society of B.C.

It has been over 28 months since the Southern District of New York ruled Surrey resident Faiyaz Dean committed fraud in relation to an illegal stock scheme commonly known as a "pump and dump."

The Nov. 27, 2019 ruling was in relation to civil charges brought forth by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The court expelled Dean from penny stock trading and fined him $160,000. Dean didn’t attend his own trial and the court approved a default judgment.

Dean has also been criminally charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud; securities fraud; conspiracy to commit money laundering; and money laundering. Those charges have not been proven in court and the case has also yet to proceed. The U.S. Department of Justice did not respond for comment on the case.

Meanwhile, it’s understood Dean continues to reside in Surrey, after the society issued him a citation last June. However, no hearing has been set. Society spokesperson Jason Kuzminski stated a pre-hearing meeting is expected soon.

The society has accused Dean of multiple incidences of “professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming the profession.”

The citation notes Dean assisted in the U.S. scheme to sell unregistered stock between December 2010 and June 2013, but it appears to include alleged misconduct unrelated to the U.S. charges, including an improper USD $1.1-million transfer.

The society claims Dean worked with multiple companies between approximately November 2014 and December 2016 and “used or permitted the use of your firm’s trust accounts to receive or disburse, or both, some or all of approximately $1,100,000 USD and $170,000 CAD,” without either providing any legal services (as required for trusts) and/or making reasonable inquiries about the circumstances and/or making a record of any inquiries.

Dean also failed to obtain, record and verify identification information for those companies and certain individuals (whose names are redacted), the society alleges.

Dean voluntarily surrendered his licence to the society in December 2019. A hearing panel will determine whether or not Dean did what the society alleges and what penalties, if any, he will face.

Dean remains free to practice law in Washington State, where he attended law school and remains an active member of the Washington State Bar Association; however, this would require entering the United States. 

The SEC determined the 2013 pump and dump generated $34 million in illicit profits by selling stock to retail investors at inflated prices. Dean is said to have profited $120,000 for his part. The SEC reported in 2018 that it was able to locate $16 million in U.S. accounts and return it to harmed investors.

The SEC claim stated how Dean provided the necessary legal framework for the scheme as he helped conceal the beneficial ownership of stock held by the so-called “masterminds” of the scheme, Francisco Abellan Villena and Guillermo Ciupiak. Dean also helped create bank and brokerage accounts in the names of Argentinian nominees that were used to sell Biozoom shares. Accounts were located in Belize, Cyprus, St. Vincent and the British Virgin Islands. Central to the alleged scheme was how Dean set up a shell company with 59.7 million shares that later became Biozoom.

Dean graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2003. Prior to being called to the B.C. bar in February 2009, Dean articled as a lawyer with Vancouver’s Bacchus Law Group.

Dean went on to set up his own firm, Dean Law Corp., in Seattle and Vancouver, where he purports to specialize in setting up IPOs and reverse mergers for junior start-up companies.

Dean could not be reached for comment.

gwood@glaciermedia.com