A Quebec notary with drug problems and in financial straits was found guilty of misappropriating more than $50,000 from a client by a disciplinary committee, the eighth case heard by disciplinary councils over the past year dealing with pilfering by legal professionals, something that has been described as the profession’s dirty little secret.
Daniel Girouard, who was admitted to the Chambre des notaires in 1986, was found guilty of breaching articles 1, 13, and 56 (7) of the Code of ethics of notaries — of failing to act with dignity, abiding by the strictest rules of integrity, and misappropriation. Girouard misappropriated $59,250 held in his trust account, and used it to pay his drug debts.
In an email to an investigator, Girouard said:
“I know anyway that I will be struck off. I am addressing you in order to minimise the misery of the parties in this case. As for the consequences for me vis-à-vis the Chamber and the tax authorities, I take responsibility.”
The disciplinary committee will determine his sanction at a later date. But it’s moot. Girouard has resigned.
The victim was reimbursed by the professional corporation’s indemnity fund.