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Twice-disbarred B.C. lawyer facing multiple fraud, theft charges

Law Society of BC documents say lawyer Steven Neil Mansfield used his clients' trust fund money to settle gambling debts.
Steven Neil Mansfield appeared in Vancouver provincial court on July 14.

A Vancouver lawyer twice disbarred from practice is now before Vancouver provincial court to face eight counts of fraud and theft.

Steven Neil Mansfield will be defending himself but has brought on board former B.C. Supreme Court Justice Peter Leask as an advisor.

The charges involve four people and encompass four charges each of fraud over $5,000 and theft over $5,000.

Judge Jodie Werier released Mansfield on bail July 14.

He is not allowed be in a position where he controls money not his own, must be fingerprinted and photographed by police and report to a bail supervisor. He is also not allowed to contact the people listed in the indictment.

Twice disbarred

The Law Society of BC has twice disbarred Mansfield, who practiced law in the Lower Mainland for 24 years.

“In the final years of his practice, he misappropriated large sums of trust funds from several clients in order to settle gambling debts,” a May 2019 society disbarment decision said.

The decision said Mansfield could not pay from his personal resources and began withdrawing money from his trust accounts in order to meet the debts arising from his gambling losses.

“Given the severity of the misconduct in this case, the disbarment of the respondent is necessary,” the 2019 decision said. “The respondent has demonstrated an egregious failure to respect his duties and obligations to his clients.”

In that case, funds misappropriated were $310,972.

The prior decision was in July 2018. "[Mansfield] explained that his actions in intentionally misappropriating over $400,000 from two clients resulted from a gambling addiction," stated that decision.

A separate society notice said on June 13, 2017, lawyer Trevor Kaatz was appointed by B.C. Supreme Court to manage or to wind up Mansfield’s legal practice.