Disbarred lawyer headed credit agency

The Law Society of Upper Canada disbarred Ouellette in 1995 for misappropriating $151,149.13 from a client's trust account between May, 1993, and June, 1994…His appointment raises questions about how much the board delved into his background for the job because the information about his legal past is available on the law society's Web site.

The Toronto Star
October 22, 2003

Disbarred lawyer headed credit agency
Director had questionable past. Put on leave as status considered.
Tony Van Alphen

The Ontario agency that helps people with money problems has placed its second highest executive on leave after it discovered he is a disbarred lawyer who misappropriated more than $150,000 from a client's estate.

The board for the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services says it will meet next week to decide further action against its executive director, Pierre Ouellette, a former lawyer in the St. Catharines area.

"He's currently on leave and our board is considering some action when it meets," association chairman John Curran said yesterday.

The association has 26 non-profit agencies across the province that provide assistance to thousands of individuals and families having money problems.

Ouellette, 50, could not be reached for comment about the association's decision and the reasons.

The association is governed under the Ontario Collection Agencies Act and is ultimately responsible for money that clients place in trust accounts for eventual payment to creditors. Local agencies offer advice on money management and negotiate payment terms for clients.

Curran put Ouellette on leave with pay on Monday after receiving information about his employment history.

"I don't think I can talk about that," Curran said about what he discovered.

Curran said he consulted with some board members before placing Ouellette on leave. Ouellette received a salary of about $65,000 a year, excluding expenses.

The Law Society of Upper Canada disbarred Ouellette in 1995 for misappropriating $151,149.13 from a client's trust account between May, 1993, and June, 1994. The society said Ouellette advised it he would not appear for a hearing and expected to be disbarred

The credit association hired Ouellette almost a year ago for the executive director's job. The posting attracted interest from 75 candidates.

Among other things, the association hired him to help lead the formation of a national credit counselling group to increase education and co-ordinate service across Canada. Curran said Ouellette's legal background was not the sole factor in getting the job but it certainly helped.

His appointment raises questions about how much the board delved into his background for the job because the information about his legal past is available on the law society's Web site.


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