Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: October 7, 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:

1.  Between approximately August 2014 and February 2016, you acted in a conflict of interest by representing two or more of your clients S Ltd., SF Ltd., HL, LF, and CL, in connection with the purchase of shares in S Ltd. or SF Ltd., or in connection with an application to the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program, or both, contrary to one or more of rules 3.4-1 and 3.4-2 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia and your fiduciary duties.

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

2.  Between approximately August 2014 and at least July 2020, in relation to one or more of the instances set out at Schedule “A”, you failed to do one or more of the following, contrary to one or more of Rules 3-51, 3-52 and 3-60 [now Rules 3-58, 3-60 and 3-68] of the Law Society Rules, rules 3.5-4 and 3.5-5 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, and your fiduciary duties:

(a)  immediately deposit funds into a pooled trust account kept in a designated savings institution;

(b)  identify and record the source of funds received into your pooled trust account;

(c)  identify and record the identity of the client on whose behalf trust funds were received into your pooled trust account;

(d)  maintain a trust ledger, or other suitable system, showing separately for each client on whose behalf trust funds have been received, all trust funds received and disbursed, and the unexpended balance; and

(e)  keep a record of the terms and conditions under which you were to hold the trust funds.

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

3.  In the alternative to allegations 1 and 2(e), between approximately August 2014 and February 2016, you permitted your trust account to be used by one or more of S Ltd., SF Ltd., HL, LF, CL, YW, TW, RL and YS, without doing one or more of the following:

(a)  providing any substantial legal services;

(b)  making reasonable inquiries about the subject matter and objectives of the trust matter; and

(c)  making a record of inquiries made.

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

4.  Between approximately September 2016 and July 2020, you made one or more of the following representations to the Law Society that you knew or ought to have known were false or misleading, contrary to rule 2.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia:

(a)  in relation to one or more of KS, S Ltd., and SF Ltd., you represented that you had never provided legal services to KS, S Ltd., SF Ltd., or any other entities involving KS;

(b)  in relation to one or both of your clients LF and CL, you made one or more of the following representations:

i.  LF and CL had never signed retainer agreements with Guo Law Corporation; and

ii.  trust funds deposited by, or on behalf of LF and CL had been stolen from your trust account;

(c)  in relation to one or more of the share purchase agreements listed at Schedule “B” (collectively, the “Share Purchase Agreements”), you made one or more of the following representations:

i.  you were not aware of, or did not have any knowledge about the Share Purchase Agreements;

ii.  to the best of your knowledge, no such agreements were brought to your attention by your clients; and

iii.  you had never reviewed the Share Purchase Agreements;

(d)  in relation to AZ, you made one or more of the following representations:

i.  the person identified in your trust accounting records as “AA” and “A” was “a person lives in this community” and you did not know her; and

ii.  you had no contact information for the person identified in your trust accounting records as “AA” and “A”.

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

5.  You failed to respond substantively, or at all, to some or all of the following communications from the Law Society, contrary to rule 7.1-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia:

(a)  letters and emails from the Custodianship Department dated August 24, 2018, September 13, 2018, September 14, 2018, and November 6, 2018; and

(b)  a letter from the Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement Group dated February 27, 2019.

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