Disbarred lawyer Paul Hesse is being sued by the Law Society of Manitoba for $2.4 million the law society paid to clients Hesse cheated.
The sum, plus interest, represents money Hesse collected from 15 clients for alleged immigration services, says a statement of claim filed last week.
The law society repaid the money from a reimbursement fund it maintains to compensate clients who have suffered "misappropriation or conversion" of their money by a law society member.
"The conduct of the defendant was reprehensible, high-handed, scandalous and egregious," the law society alleges in its statement of claim.
Hesse, a former president of the provincial Liberal party, was disbarred last year after a law society disciplinary panel found he had defrauded 27 clients out of $6.5 million over the course of three years, beginning in 2016.
Hesse lied to his clients, stole from them and convinced them to invest in a company owned by his former partner without disclosing the personal relationship.
Hesse, who was called to the bar in 2006, was found guilty of 29 counts of professional misconduct following a disciplinary hearing at which he did not appear.
"Most of the clients that he wronged were vulnerable in that they would not have had English as their first language and they may not have had a good understanding of the Canadian legal system," says a disciplinary panel decision from September 2020.
"They lost not only millions of dollars, but also the chance to immigrate. While their financial losses may be compensated, Mr. Hesse’s actions may have forever shattered their hopes and dreams."