Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: July 23, 2021

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:

Practising While Suspended

1.  On May 30, 2019, you engaged in the practice of law while suspended, contrary to section 15 of the Legal Profession Act or rule 7.1-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, or both, by doing one or more of the following in relation to a real estate transaction involving your client, PH:

a)  acting as a Commissioner for Taking Affidavits by signing a Certificate of Residency;

b)  acting as an officer by signing a Form A Transfer form;

c)  witnessing a signature on an Assignment of Parking Stall and Storage Locker; and

d)  signing a letter to BA, Notary Public, enclosing sale transfer documents, and instructing your staff to send the letter and enclosures to BA via email on your behalf.

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

2.  On May 30 and May 31, 2019, you engaged in the practice of law while suspended, contrary to section 15 of the Legal Profession Act or rule 7.1-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, or both, by doing one or more of the following in relation to a business purchase transaction involving your client, JC:

a)  on May 30, 2019, you instructed or allowed your staff to communicate with opposing counsel SL, including by sending an email attaching a revised Asset Purchase Agreement;

b)  on May 31, 2019, you met with, or took instructions from, JC, or both;

c)  on May 31, 2019, you witnessed JC’s signature on an Asset Purchase Agreement; and

d)  on May 31, 2019, you instructed your staff to send the signed Asset Purchase Agreement to SL via email on your behalf.

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

3.  On May 30, 2019 and May 31, 2019, you engaged in the practice of law while suspended, contrary to section 15 of the Legal Profession Act or rule 7.1-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, or both, by doing one or more of the following in relation to a marriage agreement for your client JZ:

a)  on May 30, 2019 and May 31, 2019, you instructed or allowed your staff to communicate with JZ;

b)  on May 31, 2019, you met with, or took instructions from, JZ, or both;

c)  on May 31, 2019, you prepared or instructed your staff to prepare a marriage agreement for JZ’s signature; and

d)  on May 31, 2019, you witnessed JZ’s signature on the marriage agreement.

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

4.  Between approximately June 3, 2019 and June 6, 2019, you engaged in the practice of law while suspended, contrary to section 15 of the Legal Profession Act or rule 7.1-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, or both, in relation to one or more of your clients [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd. (together, the “Numbered Companies”), ML, and YF, in connection with transactions involving real property on Vancouver Island, BC (the “Transactions”):

a)  between June 3, 2019 and June 6, 2019, you communicated with one or both of ML and YF in relation to the Transactions;

b)  on June 3, 2019, you prepared or instructed your staff to prepare Directors’ Resolutions for one or more of the Numbered Companies;

c)  on June 3, 2019, you signed Directors’ Resolutions for one or more of the Numbered Companies;

d)  on June 3, 2019, you prepared or instructed your staff to prepare one or more Assignments of Interest in the Contract of Purchase and Sale between ML and each of the Numbered Companies (the “Assignments”); and

e)  on or about June 3, 2019, you instructed or allowed your staff to meet with ML to affix his signature on one or more of the Assignments.

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

Breach of a Law Society Order

  1. Between approximately May 2019 and April 2020, you breached an Order of Three Benchers made March 30, 2017, contrary to rule 7.1-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, by doing one or more of the following:

a)  between approximately May 2019 and April 2020, acting for one or more of [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., ML and YF with respect to one or more transactions involving real property in which you had a financial interest as well as a directorial or management role;

b)  between approximately May 30, 2019 and June 6, 2019, failing to comply with your Practice Supervision Agreement dated June 13, 2017 by failing to advise your Practice Supervisors of your activities while suspended; and

c)  between approximately May 2019 and October 2019, in one or more of the seven (7) instances set out in Schedule “A” and the six (6) instances set out in Schedule “B”, handling trust funds or failing to ensure that funds were deposited into the pooled trust accounts specified in the Order, or both.

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

Misrepresentations to the Law Society

6.  Between approximately June 2019 and March 2021, in the course of Law Society investigations into your conduct (Law Society file numbers CO20190466, CO20200202, CO20200441, CO20200965), you made representations to Anneke Driessen, Staff Lawyer, that you knew or ought to have known were false or inaccurate, or both, contrary to one or more of Rule 3-5(7) of the Law Society Rules and rules 2.2-1 and 7.1-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, in one or more of the following instances:

a)  in relation to your administrative suspension from May 30, 2019 to June 6, 2019 (the “Suspension Period”), you made one or more of the following representations:

(i)  that, after receiving a telephone call from Michael Rhodes, Director of Custodianships and Unauthorized Practice on May 30, 2019, you provided no further legal services during the Suspension Period;

(ii)  that you did not sign or witness any documents related to the practice of law during the Suspension Period; and

(iii)  that no money was paid to you during the Suspension Period,

b)  in relation to a marriage agreement for your client JZ, you represented that, on May 29, 2019, one or more of the following took place:

(i)  your staff prepared a marriage agreement for JZ’s signature;

(ii)  you met with JZ at your law office;

(iii)  JZ signed the marriage agreement during the meeting at your law office;

(iv)  your Statement of Account was provided to JZ; and

(v)  you received $500 in fees from JZ,

c)  in relation to one or more of [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd. (together, the “Numbered Companies”) and ML in connection with the purchase of real property on Vancouver Island, BC (the “Transactions”), you made one or more of the following representations:

(i)  that the Numbered Companies were never your clients;

(ii)  that Guo Law Corporation was not the registered and records office for the Numbered Companies;

(iii)  that you were not involved in the Transactions as a lawyer;

(iv)  that ML was not your business partner;

(v)  that you had no dealings or contact with ML after June 3, 2019 and July 6, 2019;

(vi)  that you knew nothing about one or more of the following:

A.  [numbered company] BC Ltd., which you claimed was TE’s client;

B.  one or more Contracts of Purchase and Sale, before they were signed by ML on May 7, 2019 and May 9, 2019;

C.  one or more Assignments of Interest in Contracts of Purchase and Sale between ML and each of the Numbered Companies, each dated June 3, 2019; and

(vii)  that you had no involvement in the negotiations or drafting of any agreements and provided no input in relation thereto,

d)  in relation to YF’s purchase of real property on Vancouver Island, BC (the “YF Transaction”), you made one or both of the following representations:

(i)  that you did not provide legal advice or make representations to YF in connection with the YF Transaction or a Purchase Agreement signed by YF in approximately May 2019 (the “Purchase Agreement”), or both; and

(ii)  that you had no knowledge of the Purchase Agreement before it was signed, and only became aware of its content after February 2020,

e)  in relation to your Bank of China (Canada) Account [account number], you made statements to the effect that the Bank of China closed your account on April 1, 2020.

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

Dishonesty/Misrepresentations to Others

7.  Between approximately May 2019 and November 2020, in relation to transactions involving real property on Vancouver Island, BC, involving one or more of your clients [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., ML and YF (the “Transactions”), you did, or failed to do, in one or more of the seven (7) instances set out in Schedule “A”, one or more of the following contrary to rule 2.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia:

a)  you advised YF to make some or all of $590,000 in payments to L Productions Inc., a third party, when you knew or ought to have known that YF believed his payments were being provided to ML or [numbered company] BC Ltd., and was unaware that L Productions Inc. was unrelated to ML or [numbered company] BC Ltd.;

b)  you failed to advise ML, the shareholder and director of [numbered company] BC Ltd., of some or all of the $590,000 in payments made by YF to L Productions Inc.;

c)  you failed to advise YF or ML, or both, of the involvement of WR and L Productions Inc. in the purchase transaction;

d)  you failed to advise YF of some or all of the approximately $370,000 in payments made by you and L Productions Inc. to LZ (also known as BZ or DZ), a third party, in connection with the purchase transaction; and

e)  you failed to advise YF or ML, or both, of some or all of the approximately $225,000 in payments from L Productions Inc. and LZ (also known as BZ or DZ), to you, in connection with the purchase transaction.

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

8.  Between approximately August 2019 and November 2020, in relation to transactions involving real property on Vancouver Island, BC, involving one or more of your clients [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., ML and YF (the “Transactions”), you did, or failed to do, in one or more of the six (6) instances set out in Schedule “B”, one or both of the following contrary to rule 2.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia:

a)  you failed to apply some or all of $413,507.30 in payments made by YF into your personal Bank of China (Canada) Account [account number] (the “Personal Account”) towards YF’s purchase of property from ML or [numbered company] BC Ltd., when you knew or ought to have known that YF made some or all of those payments for that purpose; and

b)  you failed to advise ML, the shareholder and director of [numbered company] BC Ltd., of some or all of the $413,507.30 in payments made by YF into your Personal Account.

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

Conflict of Interest

9.  Between approximately May 2019 and April 2020, you acted in a conflict of interest by representing one or more of [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., YF and ML in connection with transactions involving real property on Vancouver Island, BC (the “Transactions”), when you had a direct or indirect financial interest in the Transactions, contrary to one or both of rules 3.4-28 and 3.4-29 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.

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

10.  Between approximately May 2019 and April 2020, you acted in a conflict of interest by representing one or more of [numbered company] BC Ltd, [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., YF and ML (together, the “Clients”), in connection with transactions involving real property on Vancouver Island, BC when you preferred your interests and those of L Productions Inc. or WR, both third parties, over those of one or more of the Clients, contrary to rule 3.4 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia

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

11.  In the alternative to allegations nine and 10, with respect to transactions involving real property on Vancouver Island, BC, and one or more of [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., YF and ML, you failed to comply with the requirements of rule 7.2-9 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia by failing to do one or both of the following:

a)  urge one or more of [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., YF and ML to obtain independent legal representation; and

b)  make it clear to one or more of [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., [numbered company] BC Ltd., YF and ML that you were not protecting their interests.

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