CMT Fires Lawyer in PEI Internet Gambling Case amidst investigation

An investigation into alleged misappropriation of $1.5 million in funds in Ontario has lead to the suspension of Attorney John Findlay in the P.E.I. Internet gambling case.

The Law Society of Upper Canada has suspended John W. Findlay from practicing law. His suspension, and subsequent firing from a major legal dispute involving the failed P.E.I. internet gambling attempt, follows an investigation into the alleged misappropriation of $1.5 million in funds.

The allegations stem from a multi-million settlement from a class action lawsuit filed by Findlay’s law firm, Findlay McCarthy PC. That case, settled in 2011, acquired $20 million from the Ontario government for some 700 business owners and residents impacted by a protest in Caledonia in 2006.

The class action suit was considered an ultimate success for Findlay and his clients. But then something went terribly wrong. On May 29, 2017, his firm sent out a letter to claimants informing them that the final $1.5 million in payments—money that Mr. Findlay was said to be holding in a trust account—was no longer there.

The missive informed the intended recipients of that money that it had been spent, and that the firm was “unable to replenish these funds”.

Findlay Fired from PEI internet gambling case John Findlay, photo Guardian

No reason as to the disappearance of the funds was provided. According to news reports, it was stated, however, that Mr. Findlay “had filed a self-reporting complaint to the Law Society of Upper Canada”.

Findlay Fired from P.E.I. Internet Gambling Case

Mr. Findlay has been representing companies on Prince Edward Island in regards to the province’s failed attempt to institute an online gambling regulatory regime. The P.E.I. internet gambling case has been working its way through the province’s Supreme Court for more than a year now.

One of his clients in that case, Capital Markets Technologies Inc. (CMT), immediately terminated the lawyer upon learning of the investigation in Ontario. Paul Maines, President of CMT, insisted that Findlay’s legal troubles will have no bearing on their case.

On Monday, Maines told reporters CMT was “shocked” by the allegations. “It’s unfortunate for him,” he said in reference to Mr. Findlay, “but obviously we’re not part of that matter.”

P.E.I. Internet Gambling Failure

The sorted tail of P.E.I.’s costly and mangled attempt to get rich off internet gambling is a complicated one, indeed. You can read the full details here, expertly scripted in 2015 by investigative and political reporters Robyn Doolittle and Jane Taber.

The paraphrased version goes something like this…

A group people on the island, with a population of just 145,000, came up with a scheme to bring in big money. They would launch an online gambling operation, with servers based on aboriginal lands (to avoid conflict with the Criminal Code of Canada).

Following the plan’s meager beginnings in 2008, hundreds of thousands of dollars were invested, including a $950,000 loan from the government (that was later denied by the prime minister).

The terms of that loan stated that it would be repaid by profits from the internet gambling operations. When the endeavor ultimately failed, General Auditor Jane MacAdam tried to write-off, pinning the expense on tax payers.

The internet gambling case has been circulating through the P.E.I. Supreme Court ever since to determine who is truly liable, and what legal penalties, if any, are to be imposed.

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