Artem Djukic’s paralegal licence was revoked in April 2016 when he admitted to “misappropriating” $900,000 from two former clients of his immigration consulting business.
At the time, Djukic, 55, was facing 10 outstanding complaints related to his work as an immigration consultant and was barred from representing asylum seekers at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)
But four months later, without resolving the complaints, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) said Djukic could continue working as a consultant so long as he complied with a strict supervisory system.
According to the IRB, this was to include financial audits, monthly reporting requirements and open access to his books.
Based on these assurances, the IRB lifted its restrictions against Djukic and allowed him to again represent claimants at the board.
But ICCRC now tells Global News it did not have the authority it needed to properly monitor and investigate Djukic during this supervisory period.
It also alleges that over the past decade, Djukic, while running Soko Immigration Consulting Service, improperly took roughly $155,000 from six clients, encouraged dishonest and illegal conduct, and, in at least one case, provided advice that led to a client being deported.
And much of this alleged misconduct occurred while he was under the regulator’s supervision, according to a January decision from ICCRC that revoked Djukic’s licence to practice as a consultant,
Now, lawyers such as Darcy Merkur and Ravi Jain, president of the immigration division of the Canadian Bar Association, are asking whether the council shares any responsibility for Djukic’s alleged wrongdoing while under its supervision.
“I’m not impressed with their replies around how they supervised him,” Jain said. “I don’t think they did anything at all.”
Djukic arrested, charged with fraud
Djukic was arrested in January by Peel Regional Police and charged with defrauding the public in connection with an alleged $95,000 immigration scam.
The council denies it shares any blame for Djukic’s alleged actions, including while he was under its supervision, adding that recent decisions made against him show he is “ungovernable.”
They also say revoking Djukic’s licence in January and ordering him to repay the money he allegedly took is proof that changes to its complaints process over the past two years have worked. These include going from four to 23 full-time complaints investigators, hiring more experienced senior staff and prioritizing the most serious cases.
Djukic did not appear at the hearing when his licence was revoked and did not provide a defence against any of the allegations.
“Responsibility for his egregious behaviour and unprofessional conduct is his alone,” May said.
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