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B.C. lawyer facing U.S. money laundering, fraud charges suspended by law society

Lawyer facing fraud charges

The Law Society of BC has settled for an eight-year suspension against a B.C. lawyer facing criminal fraud and money laundering charges in the United States.

Faiyaz Dean avoided an administrative hearing for professional misconduct last month by admitting “he engaged in activities that he ought to have known assisted in or encouraged dishonesty, crime or fraud,” according to a society panel ruling.

In November 2019, the Southern District of New York found Dean liable for his role in a fraudulent scheme to manipulate stock prices of micro-cap company Biozoom, Inc. Dean had not responded to the charges and was issued a default judgment.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission successfully argued Dean set up the legal framework for the fraud. The SEC case mirrors that of a criminal indictment against Dean, which has yet to proceed. Dean is charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud; securities fraud; conspiracy to commit money laundering; and money laundering. He was understood to be living in Surrey at the time he was indicted. 

In March, the B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) expelled Dean from participating in business activity related to the B.C. capital markets.

“Dean’s fraudulent market manipulation involved artificially high stock prices which were sold to unsuspecting investors who, consequently, suffered harm when the prices fell,” the BCSC panel of adjudicators stated.

“Dean claims that his role in the fraudulent scheme was ‘relatively minor.’ He is wrong. He had an essential role in the market manipulation and, because of his actions, investors were harmed,” the panel added.

These rulings against Dean left him to deal with the society and his standing as a lawyer in B.C.

The society alleged Dean used his law firm as a conduit for the fraud.

According to the settlement, Dean “admitted that in April and May 2013, he used or permitted the use of the Firm’s trust account to receive or disburse funds on behalf of RR, RS, Company I, and SD and failed to provide substantial legal services, make reasonable inquiries about the circumstances of transactions, or record the results of any inquiries.”

And Dean “admitted that he failed to properly obtain, record and verify client identification information.”

The society issued a statement on Dec. 1 regarding Dean’s settlement.

The society noted he had already been prohibited from practicing law since 2020 and the total practice ban amounts to 12 years. Under the agreement, Dean is barred from practicing law throughout Canada and he cannot apply to practice anywhere else in the world without first notifying the law society.

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