The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has ordered that Anthony Ram be struck from the Roll of Barristers and Solicitors.
The Tribunal found the former Auckland lawyer guilty of three charges of misconduct brought by the New Zealand Law Society.
Ram misappropriated about $150,000 he received on behalf of the complainant who owned a house which was sold by mortgagee sale.
The second charge was that he breached the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 by acting for a member of the public, despite his practising certificate as an in-house lawyer not permitting him to do so.
The third charge of misconduct was for failing to produce files and documents as requested by the Auckland Standards Committee investigating the matter.
New Zealand Law Society president Chris Moore says in-house lawyers can’t hold money or other valuable property for or on behalf of another person.
“A misappropriation of funds held by a lawyer on behalf of a member of the public is completely unacceptable and the public can be assured that if it happens strong action will be taken,” Moore says.
The Tribunal ordered Ram to pay the maximum compensation of $25,000 on each of two charges as well as pay costs and reimburse hearing costs to the Law Society.
Ram has indicated he will be challenging the Tribunal’s decision.