KUALA LUMPUR: Between 2021 and 2023, a total of 88 cases involving breach of trust by lawyers were recorded, resulting in an estimated loss surpassing RM88 million.

Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director, Datuk Seri Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf, said these figures suggest that cases of breach of trust by lawyers should be treated seriously.

As such, the police have urged the Malaysian Bar Council to actively participate in the review and improvement of procedures and penalties associated with cases of misconduct among lawyers.

“The CCID also suggests a reassessment of procedures for handling customer accounts in law firms, emphasising the inclusion of the client’s role in all account transactions,“ he told a special press conference here today.

Ramli said implementing such measures could act as an effective mechanism to prevent instances of breach of trust by lawyers and reduce the risk of money laundering.

Meanwhile, Ramli disclosed that a businessman incurred a loss of RM333,323 after the lawyer appointed to oversee the sale of a house in Negeri Sembilan was involved in a breach of trust.

He said the police received a report about the incident on Jan 18 from a 60-year-old senior citizen.

“Following investigations, it was found that a lawyer and a real estate agent had overseen the sale of the victim’s house around August last year and the proceeds were not handed over to the victim.

“Earlier this month, when the victim visited the law firm, he was informed by a staff that his money had been used by the owner of the firm for other purposes,“ he said.

Ramli added that when the victim was at the firm, he received a cheque worth RM333,323. However, the check couldn’t be cashed as the payment was stopped by the law firm for unknown reasons.

Ramli said that checks conducted with the land office revealed the victim’s house had been transferred to a new owner and the case is being investigated under Section 409 of the Penal Code.

In another development, he said the CCID had received a report from a 74-year-old pensioner who fell victim to a bitcoin investment scam.

Based on a preliminary investigation conducted on Oct 30 last year, the pensioner was contacted via WhatsApp by an individual offering the investment and he was given the link www.accerx.com for registration.

“After registration, the pensioner initiated numerous financial transactions amounting to RM1.2 million, distributed among eight different accounts and despite these transactions, the pensioner has not made any profit withdrawals from the investments,“ he said.

Ramli added that the investigation found the syndicate misled the pensioner, convincing him that the eight bank accounts provided were acting as money exchangers in line with the cryptocurrency-based investment scheme.

He said the case is being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code. - Bernama

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