Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Trust account negligence nets B.C. lawyer five-month suspension

A 30-year veteran lawyer has admitted to various trust and accounting violations and will pack up his law office for five months.
Vancouver Law courts-statueMIKE
M. Shane Dugas had been previously disciplined by the law society in 2013.

Vernon-based lawyer M. Shane Dugas has agreed to a five-month suspension with the Law Society of BC after admitting gross negligence in handling his trust accounts.

Dugas’ wide range of admitted misconduct included moving over $1.4 million in rent funds for a corporate client through his trust account without performing legal services, over a three-year period, according to a settlement agreement approved May 10 but announced May 31.

Dugas represented the client on foreclosure proceedings initiated by a bank. At the time Dugas received the rent funds he knew the company’s bank accounts were frozen because of the proceedings and that it was in default of a $3.2-million loan from the bank.

Among his other contraventions of legal practice standards, Dugas also used his personal bank accounts for client business, operated trust shortages, failed to report said shortages to the society, did not maintain adequate accounting documents and failed to remit taxes in a timely manner.

More so, Dugas conducted most firm-related transactions through his personal account that was jointly shared with his wife.

Dugas had been previously disciplined by the society in 2013 for taking funds from a trust account for legal fees prior to issuing bills. 

Now, Dugas will only be permitted to operate a trust account with an approved second signatory who is a practicing lawyer, the society stated May 31.

Dugas, a lawyer for 30 years, is said to have accepted responsibility for the misconduct.

[email protected]