Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision of the Hearing Panel


Daniel Kay Lo

Vancouver, BC

Called to the bar: May 17, 2005

Panel: Jeffrey T. Campbell, QC, chair, Clarence Bolt and Gavin Hume, QC

Decision issued: February 18, 2020 (2020 LSBC 09)

Counsel: Kathleen Bradley for the Law Society; Daniel Kay Lo appearing on his own behalf

FACTS

Daniel Kay Lo practised with notaries public at “TNG Legal Services MDP” and was the only lawyer at the firm. In February 2018, a Law Society compliance audit of TNG revealed a breach of the client verification rules and a longstanding failure to remit GST, PST and payroll source deductions, which led to the discovery of misleading statements in Lo’s trust reports.

The Canada Revenue Agency examined TNG’s payroll in October 2017 and found that it had not remitted payroll source deductions from January 1, 2015 to September 30, 2017. A further review determined that TNG owed a total of $175,669.29, with interest and penalties. Lo paid the debt to the CRA by October 2018. Although TNG did not remit payroll source deductions between 2015 and 2017, Lo’s annual trust reports to the Law Society reported his firm had made payroll remittances in full and on time.

TNG also did not file any GST returns for the years 2013 to 2017. The CRA sent notices to Lo in 2016 stating that, because TNG had not filed tax returns, the CRA was estimating the amounts owed for 2013 to 2015. TNG continued to fail to file returns for the years 2016 and 2017, and again the CRA sent notices with an estimated assessment for unfiled GST returns. Lo paid the arrears in 2018, which totalled approximately $33,000. TNG is reportedly now filing GST returns on time as required.

TNG was required to file PST returns with the BC Ministry of Finance on a quarterly basis. TNG did not file PST returns or filed late returns between 2015 and 2018. The Ministry of Finance conducted a number of audits in 2018. TNG paid PST arrears in 2018, which totalled approximately $54,000. TNG is now filing PST returns on time.

In 2017, Lo represented a client, who lived in another country, in the sale of her residential property. He did not know her personally and had not met her before. The documents were apparently signed by the client and included a certificate verifying the client’s identity, which appeared to have been completed by a notary public in the client’s jurisdiction. The documents were forwarded to Lo by the client’s husband, rather than being sent directly from the notary. The documents did not include any copies of identification and Lo did not follow up with the notary public to obtain copies. Lo failed to take required steps to confirm his client’s identity, despite having no face-to-face contact with her.

ADMISSION AND DETERMINATION

The panel accepted Lo’s admission that his conduct constituted professional misconduct.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Lo and Law Society counsel jointly submitted that the disciplinary action should be a $15,000 fine. The hearing was conducted in writing instead of an oral hearing.

The panel considered the nature and gravity of the conduct and that Lo has admitted to the misconduct and agreed to the penalty. He has paid all debts to various government agencies, made changes to his practice to ensure the firm’s financial obligations are met in the future and admitted to the misconduct.

The panel accepted the proposed disciplinary action and ordered that Lo pay:

  1. a fine of $15,000; and
  2. costs of $1,000.

2020 LSBC 09 Decision of the Hearing Panel