Lawyer suspended a month for treatment of former sugar baby

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A Toronto lawyer, who claimed he was scammed by a sugar baby and had his lawsuit against her thrown out, has now been suspended for a month for his unprofessional behaviour toward her and her counsel.

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Azmat Ramal-Shah apologized before the Law Society Tribunal.

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“The lawyer’s misconduct took place over the course of almost two years. This is a long period. At times, his communications have been threatening, insulting, crude and offensive,” wrote tribunal chair Murray Chitra in a ruling this week.

“Clearly, the lawyer’s distress at his breakup and circumstances giving rise to it, along with his anxiety, depression, and misuse of alcohol, had a role in his inappropriate responses.”

According to the agreed statement, Ramal-Shah met the University of Ottawa student in 2015 on “Seeking Arrangements,” an online matchmaking service for “sugar daddy/sugar baby” relationships between older men and younger women. He was 30; she was 18.

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It didn’t end well.

He later claimed in a $226-million lawsuit that he was manipulated into sending her between $20,000 and $30,000 over their three-year “relationship” — all while she made repeated excuses for why she couldn’t meet in person, including an aunt’s funeral, a broken leg and a sudden cancer diagnosis.

Ramal-Shah said he broke it off in 2018 when he discovered she’d lied about cancer. He demanded his money back or he’d sue.

When she retained a lawyer, the tribunal found, he bombarded them both over the next two years with “multiple highly abusive and offensive” emails.

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According to the ruling, Ramal-Shah, who has a master’s of law from Duke University, dismissed his opponent as a “Better Call Saul” who used “stripmall legal tactics.” He goaded his sugar baby and her mother “to come at me b—-es,” said ultimate justice would be if the student contracted COVID and suggested she was paying for her legal fees by providing sexual favours.

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The tribunal also found he threatened her with criminal charges if she didn’t pay up and “attempted to bully” her with threats of personal embarrassment and the obstruction of her educational and career plans as a future lawyer herself.

I believed I was helping someone fight cancer,” Ramal-Shah wrote The Toronto Sun, following a request for comment. “I became very scared and anxious about who I was actually talking to and what they could do to me so it led to some emotional statements and actions. The whole situation is unfortunate.”

A Calgary psychologist interviewed Ramal-Shah and prepared a forensic assessment for the tribunal.

“Her fraud crushed him and hurt at a deep level,” wrote Dr. Kristin Russell in her report. “He was shocked and devastated. He snapped and began to drink to excess. He believes he was intoxicated 50% to 60% of the time when he sent inappropriate e-mail messages.”

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Russell concluded he suffered from persistent depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

In his almost 150-page statement of claim, Ramal-Shah complained he never saw any sugar from his baby: She promised to meet him in person if he continued sending “gifts,he alleged, but always cancelled at the last minute, including leaving him waiting at a North Carolina airport for a flight she never boarded. She later told him she was in the hospital after just being diagnosed with bone cancer.

She later admitted to court that her excuses were lies to avoid meeting her increasingly possessive and threatening sugar daddy and by March 2018, she broke off all contact, but claimed he wouldn’t accept the end of their relationship.

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In his lawsuit, he alleged the whole sorry affair left him so emotionally distressed that he couldn’t find an appropriate well-paying job. According to the ruling, he’s not currently practising as a lawyer.

In February, a Superior Court judge dismissed Ramal-Shah’s lawsuit for being launched beyond the two-year limitation period and ordered him to pay the other side’s $15,000 in legal costs.

At his disciplinary tribunal, the panel found him remorseful and benefitting from ongoing counselling.

“The lawyer has clearly been working hard to put his life in order. He has taken meaningful, concrete rehabilitative steps to prevent reoccurrence,” Chitra wrote. “This should benefit him personally, permit him to be a better member of the profession, and allow for public confidence.”


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