Woodbridge lawyer disbarred for mortgage fraud
Posted in the Georgetown Forum
#1 Mar 12, 2009
The Law Society of Upper Canada announced today that it has stripped a Woodbridge man of his licence to practice law for participating in a mortgage fraud.
The governing body for lawyers in Ontario said it made the decision after hearing evidence that Joseph Paradiso bilked a client, Paul Zeppieri, of some $89,000 in a real estate deal in May 2003.
"The panel therefore found that there was clear and convincing proof, based on cogent evidence, that Joseph Paradiso misled the Law Society, and that the misleading statements were intended to conceal his participation in a breach of his ethical obligations to Paul Zeppieri, and to protect his own reputation, to the detriment and at the expense of Paul Zeppieri," stated the Law Society ruling.
In November 2007, Mr. Justice Peter Howden threw out 11 fraud and fraud-related charges in Newmarket Court relating to the same incident against Paradiso, saying it was unfair for him to have to wait 35 months for his case to be heard.
Howden ruled at the time that Paradiso, who specialized in real estate law in York Region, had already suffered financially, emotionally and physically because of a delay in bringing his charges to court.
Paradiso had been charged along with six others on Dec. 16, 2004. Two of his co-accused pleaded guilty, while charges have been withdrawn against three and stayed against another.
"As the continuum of criminal charges goes, from murder and treason at one extreme to more nuisance-type property offences, the charges against Mr. Paradiso here are not among the most serious of the spectrum," the judge ruled, as he threw out the charges.
The judge added that he accepted testimony by Paradiso that he suffered physically, financially and socially because of the charges.
"Increasingly, especially over the last year, he has been driven in upon himself, isolated by the stigma of being an allegedly distrusted lawyer," the judge wrote.
One of the co-accused, Frank Basso of Newmarket, was sentenced to 42 months in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding his cancer-stricken 72-year-old mother of her family home.
"Mr. Paradiso, I am informed, is not alleged to have been involved in the situation until after the fraudulent deed was signed and registered," the judge concluded.
Basso earlier told court he directed a portion of the $450,000 in proceeds to York Region criminal Michael Marrese, another of the men charged in the original mortgage fraud.
Marrese and Michele Modica, who police said was a Sicilian Mafia figure in Canada illegally, survived a gangland murder attempt in 2004 that left bystander Louise Russo a paraplegic.
Marrese was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to the mortgage fraud charges against him. Modica was deported.
The recent decision by the Law Society was the second action against Paradiso in less than eight years. In December 2001, he was reprimanded and ordered to pay a fine of $1,000 after the Law Society found him guilty of misleading the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
#2 May 13, 2012
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