Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: May 22, 2020

Hong Guo

Citations are authorized by the Law Society of BC's Discipline Committee and list allegations against a lawyer that will be considered at a discipline hearing. Please note that allegations in a citation are unproven until a discipline hearing panel has determined their validity.

Nature of conduct to be inquired into:

Misappropriation/Improper Handling of Trust Funds

  1. On or about September 29, 2012, in the course of acting for your client ZZ in relation to a business immigration application, you misappropriated or improperly handled approximately CAD $13,049 received as a retainer from your client by failing to deposit the trust funds into a pooled trust account, contrary to Rule 3-51(1) [now Rule 3-58(1)] of the Law Society Rules.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

1.  On or about January 22 and 24, 2013, in the course of acting for your client ZZ in relation to a business immigration application (“Application”), you improperly handled approximately CAD $257,562 received from your client as investment funds for the Application, by doing one or more of the following:

(a)  failing to deposit the trust funds into a pooled trust account, contrary to Rule 3-51(1) [now Rule 3-58(1)] of the Law Society Rules;

(b)  depositing the trust funds into a bank account in China and using a different source of funds in Canada to make a payment on behalf of your client;

(c)  failing to record the receipt of the funds as required by Rules 3-59 and 3-63 [now Rules 3-67 and 3-72] of the Law Society Rules; and

(d)  failing to account to the client in writing for all funds received on his behalf, contrary to Rule 3-48(1) [now Rule 3-54(1)] of the Law Society Rules.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

2.  On or about January 22 and 24, 2013, in the course of acting for your client ZZ in relation to a business immigration application, you misappropriated or improperly handled approximately CAD $30,000 of the trust funds identified in Allegation 2 by failing to deposit the trust funds into a pooled trust account and by paying them to yourself or Guo Law Corporation for fees without first preparing and delivering a bill or without keeping a file copy of the bill, or when you knew or ought to have known that those fees were not properly charged to the client, contrary to one or more of Rules 3-51(1), 3-56(1), 3-57(2) and 3-62 [now Rules 3-58(1), 3-64(1), 3-65(2) and 3-71] of the Law Society Rules.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

3.  On or about December 17, 2013, in the course of acting for your client ZZ in relation to a business immigration application (“Application”), you improperly handled approximately CAD $120,527 received from your client as investment funds for the Application, by doing one or more of the following:

(a)  failing to deposit the trust funds into a pooled trust account, contrary to Rule 3-51(1) [now Rule 3-58(1)] of the Law Society Rules;

(b)  depositing the trust funds into a bank account in China and using a different source of funds in Canada to make a payment on behalf of your client;

(c)  failing to record the receipt of the funds as required by Rules 3-59 and 3-63 [now Rules 3-67 and 3-72] of the Law Society Rules; and

(d)  failing to account to the client in writing for all funds received on his behalf, contrary to Rule 3-48(1) [now Rule 3-54(1)] of the Law Society Rules.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

Quality of Service/Competence / Integrity

4.  Between approximately August 2012 and February 2017, in the course of acting for your client ZZ in relation to a business immigration application (“Application”), you failed to provide the quality of service required of a competent lawyer or failed to act with integrity, or both, contrary to one or more of rules 2.1-1, 2.2-1, 3.1-2, 3.2-1, and 3.2-7 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia and Chapter 1, Chapter 2 Rule 1, Chapter 3 Rule 2, Chapter 3 Rules 3 and 5, and Chapter 4 Rule 6 of the Professional Conduct Handbook. In particular, you did one or more of the following:

(a)  prepared or caused to be prepared agreements between your client and other entities (“Transaction Agreements”) that:

(i)  contained multiple errors, including incorrectly naming the entities who were parties to the Transaction Agreements;

(ii)  were not signed by all parties to the Transaction Agreements; and

(iii)  could not be reconciled with the business plan that you submitted on behalf of your client to the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (“BC PNP”);

(b)  made representations to the BC PNP which you knew or ought to have known were untrue, including a representation that your client’s role in the business requires “his presence and active involvement with the Business Management”; and

(c)  failed to properly advise your client about his obligations pursuant to the Transaction Agreements and the Application.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.