A Richmond actual estate attorney who has been suspended for one particular 12 months for her mishandling of rely on accounts from which $7.5 million disappeared in 2016, faces many other disciplinary allegations, according to the B.C. Regulation Modern society.
In 8 separate steps, 6 of people submitted in 2020 and 2021, Hong Guo, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Richmond in 2018, faces allegations linked to conflict of desire in the obtain of a sawmill, a actual estate improvement undertaking, and a order of shares in a business. She also faces allegations of misconduct for misappropriation or improperly dealing with shopper payments and mishandling trust funds.
The allegations incorporate that Guo improperly taken care of cash for a company for which she was taken out as a signing authority and for violating a 2019 buy in opposition to practicing legislation when she was temporarily suspended from performing so.
The allegations in most of the conditions have not been heard by a regulation society tribunal (the human body that adjudicates disciplinary issues) and have not been proven.
The regulation society experienced sought disbarment of Guo for the circumstance in which she been given a one particular-calendar year suspension, but it is not regarded at this juncture what penalties, if any, she would deal with in the other situations. If allegations are confirmed, penalties are based on the facts of each individual scenario and rulings in similar conditions.
In just one of the 8 instances, a listening to has been held, and Guo has been uncovered to have mishandled trust resources, the place she deposited funds innovations for legal solutions in relation to a share acquire and transfer, a marriage arrangement and quite a few wills into her general account and not a believe in account.
At the time, Guo was also limited from managing any rely on resources on an get from the B.C. Legislation Modern society.
In that scenario, Guo had argued that progress payment for a “fixed-fee” authorized company will become the lawyer’s property and hence did not constitute belief money and did not will need to be deposited in a have confidence in account.
The tribunal disagreed.
A tribunal hearing to determine a penalty in that scenario was read this summer season but has still to be delivered.
The timing of hearings in the other cases is not but recognized, said B.C. Law Culture spokesman Jason Kuzminski.
“I take pleasure in that the final decision by the panel has regarded that I coated the rely on scarcity and no clients experienced any loss,” Guo reported in a prepared assertion Tuesday.
In her the latest one-year suspension that starts off Dec. 1, a tribunal discovered that Guo experienced dedicated specialist misconduct by failing to supervise her personnel, failing to comply with believe in accounting procedures, and leaving a collection of blank signed rely on cheques with her bookkeeper, which facilitated the bookkeeper’s theft of $7.5 million of shopper have faith in resources.
The panel also identified Guo misappropriated have confidence in resources from some consumers, in get to substitute funds lacking from other clients’ belief accounts that have been necessary to complete pending real estate transactions.
In the new suspension decision, the regulation culture experienced sought a disciplinary penalty of disbarment, but the tribunal, in purchasing the 1-yr suspension, considered the misconduct to have been determined by an intention to make certain pending transactions completed in time, and that all clientele ended up at some point manufactured fiscally full by Guo and an staff insurance plan coverage. The panel also mentioned that Guo at present has no accessibility to a have faith in account and is practising under the supervision of another attorney.
In the previous, Guo has stated that she was a victim. She blamed her former staff members for the trust account situation, stating she experienced to belief and delegate perform to personnel, specified the sizing of her apply.
Civil filings in B.C. Supreme Court experienced confirmed that about 100 customers ended up afflicted by the disappearance of $7.5 million from the have faith in accounts of Guo’s law organization, which she has stated done about $700 million a 12 months in true-estate transactions.