In a stunning breach of trust that shook the Canadian legal community, a former Deputy Attorney General of New Brunswick, who returned to private practice, was found to have embezzled $481,148 from his clients’ trust accounts. This former high-ranking legal figure, Yassin Choukri, succumbed to a crippling gambling addiction that led to the misappropriation of funds earmarked for client use.
Choukri’s descent into infamy began shortly after he left his government position. Over a two-year span from 2014 to 2016, Choukri stealthily siphoned off client funds in multiple increments, channeling this illicit cash flow primarily into settling debts with Casino New Brunswick, whose gaming tables had become his arena of choice, predominantly at the poker tables.
The once-respected lawyer’s misdeeds came to light when checks drawn from the compromised trust accounts were dishonored. By this time, Choukri had already vanished. It was not until his wife reported him missing days later that the severity of the situation began to dawn on the authorities.
After four years at large, the law finally caught up with Choukri in August 2020, in Mississauga, Ontario. There, in a twist of fate, he was found running a program for problem gamblers, addressing an issue that mirrored his own downward spiral. In October 2023, Choukri faced the consequences of his actions, pleading guilty to grand theft—a crime that shed a harrowing light on his fall from grace and the devastating grip of addiction.
Crown prosecutor Vicky Doucette characterized the event as a stern warning to others, highlighting the sweeping impact of Choukri’s gambling habit—not just upon his prestigious career but also his personal life. Now facing a likely sentence of incarceration without the means to offer restitution, Choukri’s remaining assets have been foreclosed by the casinos he once patronized.
Contention now rests on the forthcoming sentencing hearing scheduled for December 18, where the extent of Choukri’s penance will be formally determined.
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