uLawPractice Blog

Lawyer forced to resign for overbilling Legal Aid $29k

Posted by uLaw Editorial Team on Jul 23, 2018 6:27:12 AM

A Barry's Bay lawyer is finally being forced to surrender his licence to practice law after it was discovered that he'd been overbilling Legal Aid Ontario of large sums of money. 

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Darwin Anthony Yantha, licensed in 1999 in Barry’s Bay, is getting the boot from the Law Society of Ontario after a Tribunal came to the conclusion that he was undermining the integrity of the profession for knowingly scamming an institution reserved to protect the rights of vulnerable Ontarians.

Legal Aid Ontario was overbilled, more or less, $29,540.61 by the now disgraced lawyer. He appeared for clients on assigned duty counsel day without disclosure or prior approval from the Law Society of Ontario Also.

In a recently published Tribunal Decision, Yantha also failed to maintain “contemporaneous detailed records in support of his accounts to LAO.” This misconduct dates all the way back to 1999 when he was first licensed, however it is only until now that Yantha appears to have faced the brunt of discipline dished out by the law society.

Since June 29 of 2017, Yantha has been suspended on an interlocutory basis and the panel is ordering for such a suspension to continue. Yantha is being given until the end of the month to surrender his licence, otherwise the Law Society will forcibly strip him of his licence.

This isn't the first time regulators have raised red flags about Yantha's behaviour. In a 2015 Law Society Hearing, the panel ruled Yantha took advantage of one of his clients by charging him fees without disclosing what he was doing in advance. 

 His client at the time was an elderly unemployed 74 year old who lived on a fixed income of $1,600 per month with limited literacy skills and was facing serious charges alleging historic criminal offences of indecent assault and gross indecency relating to his contact with 5 sisters under the age of 10 when he was working as a farm hand in the 60s and 70s. 

Costs for the ongoing investigation into Yantha’s behaviour is expected to follow in the coming weeks following the Law Society’s recent order for Yantha to surrender his licence.

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