SINGAPORE: Lawyer Jeffrey Ong Su Incluso, who faces multiple fees over S$33 mil that went missing from the client’s escrow account, has been struck from the rolls in a disciplinary hearing sought from the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc).
Drew and Napier lawyers symbolizing LawSoc said the striking off may be the only appropriate sanction for Ong, saying his dishonesty plus actions fall short from the integrity and dependability expected of a lawyer.
The Courtroom of Three Idol judges, comprising the Chief Proper rights as well as Justices Judith Prakash and Tay Yong Kwang, decided and ordered Ong to be struck away on Wednesday (Sep 14).
Ong was a solicitor associated with 15 years and the managing partner associated with JLC Advisors at the time. The firm has been engaged to hold funds on escrow in the client’s account. An escrow account any where funds are usually held while several parties complete a transaction.
In a disciplinary tribunal, Ong accepted to all seven charges against him regarding his failure in order to deal appropriately using the escrow account and money within.
On Wednesday, Received and Napier attorney Adam Maniam questioned the court in order to strike Ong off the rolls. He stated Ong’s conduct has been dishonest, not just on a single occasion but on the number of occasions more than a prolonged period.
This includes allowing money in the escrow account to be paid out to parties other than the customer without receiving the particular authorisation and without telling the client.
Ong admitted that he provided instructions for the issue of 15 earnest notices between November 2017 and January 2019 that did not state the true stability in the escrow account, said Mr Maniam.
“The false balances in these earnest notices meant how the fact that there were unauthorised transactions by (Ong) went undetected by the client until much later on in 2019, and again LawSoc’s position is that this was dishonest conduct, ” he said.
Ong also delivered a series of emails that will gave the impression that the full amount of S$33 million would be released from the earnest account, even though he knew it could not have to get as there were insufficient funds.
“When a client places money with a lawyer or even law firm, there is a specific relationship there. The client will of course expect those funds to be protected and only handled in accordance with the escrow agreement, inch said Mr Maniam.
“When this is not done and communications are done in order to mask the fact that funds have been paid out, our submission is that this particular clearly falls short of the standards associated with integrity, probity plus trustworthiness expected of a solicitor. ”
Ong was unrepresented. When asked in order to speak, he mentioned he had no submissions.
“I believe LawSoc’s submission, inch he said via Zoom from his place of remand. “While there were underlying reasons and circumstances surrounding the fact, I do not think those are related for these proceedings and so i have no submissions to produce on my part, I just apologise for taking up your honours’ time, that’s all. ”
Chief Proper rights Sundaresh Menon stated there was “no question at all” there was due trigger for sanctions which the only appropriate sanction was to hit Ong off.
Ong still face pending criminal charges in the State Legal courts.
The listening to in the Court associated with Three Judges on Wednesday opened with Mr Maniam telling the judges that Ong’s lawyer for your criminal case wanted to “update” the courtroom a few minutes before the listening to began.
“She informed me that will she acts regarding Mr Ong in some criminal proceedings and she says there are some material updates that she wishes to speak to Mr Ong about, ” said Mr Maniam. “She asked in the event that she could have a couple of minutes to speak to him. I understand she is physically within the court, I informed her there will be difficulties. inch
The Chief Proper rights said: “This is usually nothing to do with this particular matter (of disciplinary sanction) right. ”
Mr Maniam agreed, as Ong was unrepresented for the case brought against him by LawSoc.
“I believe she should know the particular (court) is not some type of bus where you hop on and ask for a trip, ” Chief Proper rights Menon replied. The particular lawyer was not permitted to speak to Ong before the hearing.