Skip to main content

Lawyer who tried to sue Ontario 'sugar baby' for $229M suspended for misconduct

Experts say websites that offer "sugar dating" are harder to enforce when the activity involved with the relationships are implied instead of being set out explicitly. Experts say websites that offer "sugar dating" are harder to enforce when the activity involved with the relationships are implied instead of being set out explicitly.

The Law Society of Ontario has suspended the license of a lawyer who filed an unsuccessful $229 million lawsuit against his former 'sugar baby,' finding his role in the civil action to constitute professional misconduct.

In 2015, Azmat Ramal-Shah entered an informal agreement with a then 18-year-old Ontario university student who agreed to keep him company “virtually” in exchange for financial assistance, according to documents presented to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

But the terms of the agreement soon began to blur, according to legal testimonies, with Ramal-Shah confessing he’d fallen "in love" with the woman who then began to fabricate lies, including a false cancer diagnosis, in an attempt to sever her connections with the lawyer.

When Ramal-Shah realized the extent of the fabrication, he demanded the woman return all the payments he had made to her – about $20,000 to $30,000 – and ultimately attempted to sue her for $229 million in damages.

On Tuesday, the law society's disciplinary tribunal found Ramal-Shah’s role in the civil suit constituted professional misconduct and suspended his license for one month, until May 25. He must also pay back costs to the college, which, pending party submissions and possible appeals, total $9,000.

When reached for comment, Ramal-Shah maintained he was misled by the woman’s lies about her health, which he says prompted him to continue sending her money. He called the whole situation “unfortunate.”

Legal representation for the woman, who CTV News Toronto will identify as 'KJ' below, declined to provide further comment.


In 2015, Ramal-Shah, 30, met KJ on the dating site ‘Seeking Arrangements,’ described as a premier dating website for “sugar babies” and “sugar daddies," according to documents presented in the tribunal hearing.

The documents state the student agreed to keep Ramal-Shah company "virtually" — she would listen to his stresses and provide him friendship, and Ramal-Shah would assist her with expenses.

“There was no discussion of ‘a regular dating relationship’ at this time,” KJ said in a sworn affidavit submitted to the courts. “We agreed upon an arrangement where I would not seek other sugar daddies. He decided to send me gifts in exchange for extensive conversations and photographs.”

However, Ramal-Shah soon claimed he was “in love” with KJ, the tribunal heard.

“He would often talk about his future and the future he would like to have with me,” KJ said in the affidavit. “I would entertain his fantasies as it was what he wanted out of the arrangement.”

KJ states in her account she saw no red flags during the first year of the arrangement, but after meeting Ramal-Shah in person for the first and only time, she claims he started to push her boundaries.

By March 2017, [Ramal-Shah] had became possessive over KJ, refused to cease communications with her and had threatened her, the panel heard.

It was at this point the woman began to fabricate lies to Ramal-Shah, according to the ruling, including falsely telling Ramal-Shah she had been diagnosed with cancer. For months, Ramal-Shah continued his payments to KJ, thinking the money was going towards cancer treatment, he said.

“I honestly thought I was helping someone fight cancer,” he told CTV News Toronto in a written statement.


When Ramal-Shah became aware that KJ did not have cancer, he demanded the woman return all the payments he had made to her (about $20,000 to $30,000), the documents state.

In 2021, he filed a $229-million, 340-paragraph lawsuit against KJ and her family, claiming she had deceived him, conjured “false representations” to avoid interacting with him, and defrauded him of money.

In filing the lawsuit against KJ, Ramal-Shah should have forfeited his ability to contact KJ, except through her legal representation. However, the tribunal found this was not the case, and that Ramal-Shah continued to refuse to cease communications with her and her family, breaching the Law Society of Ontario's rules of conduct.

A written argument presented to the courts on behalf of KJ and her family by lawyer Charles Baker said Ramal-Shah’s claim “is a case of unrequited love where the then approximately 30-year-old plaintiff became obsessed with the then 18-year-old.”

The lawsuit was dismissed in January with the court deemed it “an abuse of process.”


Since his claim was dismissed, Ramal-Shah has taken tangible steps to "put his life in order,” including attending nearly 50 sessions of counselling.

His last act of “incivility” was over a year ago, and since then, Ramal-Shah has admitted his misconduct to the tribunal, accepted responsibility, and expressed remorse for his actions, the decision states.

"He has taken meaningful, concrete rehabilitative steps to prevent reoccurrence," the decision reads. "This should benefit him personally, permit him to be a better member of the profession, and allow for public confidence."

Given the extenuating circumstances, the tribunal found that a two-month suspension would be excessive.

During the month-long suspension, the tribunal urged Ramal-Shah to continue with his counselling and avoid any further contact with KJ or her family.

A current bill of costs totals $9,000. Pending the possibility of an appeal of costs, Ramal-Shah will have two weeks to reimburse the college.


Ellie Ade Kur, who sits on the Board of Directors at Maggie’s Toronto, a harm reduction organization that offers outreach services to sex workers in Toronto, told CTV News Toronto in February that, in this case, a lack of regulations in place for escorts or sugar babies put KJ in a vulnerable position.

If formal support or legal resources had been available to the sugar baby, Ade Kur said the situation could have gone very differently.

“It's not that sex workers, escorts or sugar babies aren't able to set boundaries with people – it's that people don't respect those boundaries because of the stigma, discrimination, and criminalization of sex work,”  she said.

While KJ first attempted to sever the relationship by creating falsehoods, she eventually had the ability to seek legal protection. Ade Kaur said that, in most cases, those who offer sex work or escort services – especially criminalized services – do not.

“The effects can be very detrimental -- sex workers have gone missing, or been murdered or been brutalized,” she said. “Even if we’re talking about licensed services, people can lose their kids, they can be pushed out of their jobs or isolated from their families and friends [when they try to halt services]."

Decriminalization and de-stigmatization would do much to solve that issue, says Ade Kur, as it would allow sex workers to freely seek protections without fear of reprisal.

“Pushing towards decriminalization is so important because, in cases like this, it would make sure that sex workers and escorts have access to some form of legal or health and safety protections.” Top Stories

Stay Connected