q Sino-Canadian Lawyer, Hong Guo, Appeals LSBC Disbarment - Advocate Daily
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INTRODUCTION:

After almost a decade of inhumane persecution, systemic racism, blatant sexism and short-sighted disregard for the legal needs and social norms of a sensitive geopolitical segment of Canada’s multicultural mosaic, the Law Society of British Columbia (“LSBC”) has followed up on its threat to disbar Richmond Lawyer Hong Guo.

Their plot involves a classic coverup of a careless mistake the LSBC made in sharing confidential information about a member of their Society and then trying to hide their gross negligence by compounding their inadequate response to a business crisis caused by a professionally executed criminal act in 2016. 

Instead of assisting a high-profile member of their profession, LSBC officials did not even attempt to hide their rush to judgment and before even investigating the matter – exacerbating the devastating consequences of the crisis by making false allegations about the member already on the brink of financial disaster by casting aspersions about her complicity in a meticulously planned Grand Theft by two Guo Law Corporation (“GLC”) employees.

Hong Guo

THE THEFT:

In the Spring of 2016, Jeff (Zixin) Li, a trusted in-house accountant at GLC, and a former female employee, Danika (Gian) Pan, conspired to foolishly embezzle $7,580,000 of GJC’s trust funds in the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (“CIBC”).

Earmarked for GLC’s clients to conduct time-sensitive investments in business or real estate transactions, these funds were deposited in a Trust Account at the main CIBC branch in Richmond’s Business District located across the street from GLC’s office.

The theft was so well planned that, after the event, a local criminal attorney advised Lawyer Guo he had been approached by Jeff to inquire about what kind of penalties might be involved if someone were to carry out a heist – such as the one he and Danika were busy plotting.  

GLC, RCMP, LSBC & CIBC, BMO and the “GATEWAY LAUNDRY”:

Before the theft, GLC was one of the busiest boutique law firms in Canada catering to the Asian market conveyancing up to $600,000,000 in real estate transactions annually,

Returning from a Spring Break with her son, Lawyer Guo discovered the theft on April 2, 2016, when Jeff mysteriously failed to show up for their scheduled monthly meeting to reconcile GLC’s books. She also noticed that his normally tidy office was in total disarray. 

As Lawyer Guo was also receiving calls from the CIBC about shortages in GLC’s trust account, she immediately reported the matter to CIBC managers and the Richmond branch of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“RCMP”).

The next day after filing her police report, Lawyer Guo tried to contact the RCMP Police Officer who had interviewed her to follow up, only to receive an unbelievable response from the receptionist: this Officer was away on holiday for a week and only he could speak to the matter.  

Lawyer Hong Guo explained that timing was paramount since the thief had absconded with millions of her clients’ dollars only days earlier and could still be at large. Unimpressed, the receptionist repeated that only the Officer who had taken the report could address the matter – adding the situation wasn’t all that urgent: “… nobody got killed”. 

NOBODY GOT KILLED”

In the meantime, it turned out that, while Jeff had already run away to China on April 1, 2016, he had left Danika behind to “launder” the stolen funds. She accomplished this via cheques certified by the CIBC – which she deposited into her account at the Bank of Montreal and finally, “washed” with bank drafts deposited in her gambling account at the Government of British Columbia-controlled Gateway Casino.

Consequently, since Danika did not escape to China with the stolen cash until April 7, 2016, the entire tragedy – a human tragedy yet to turn out very badly for all concerned, including the thieves – could well have been avoided had the police done their job.

It remains a mystery why the local constabulary did not do their work with even a modicum of efficiency which anyone should be able to rely on from Canada’s celebrated, Red-Coated & Mounted National Police force. It may also be worth inquiring who might have given the order that this massive theft wasn’t an important enough matter to be investigated.

Beyond this unacceptable response from the RCMP, Lawyer Guo had also begun making countless calls to seek advice from her professional Law Society, the Law Society of British Columbia, (“LSBC”). 

OVERSIGHT RESPONSIBILITY WITHOUT GUIDANCE & “RUSH TO JUDGMENT” 

Anxious to receive instructions about how best to handle the crisis confronting GLC, the LSBC’s lame response to the GLC emergency became another slap in the face. 

Although Lawyer Guo had flown to China immediately after reporting the theft hoping to hunt down the thieves and retrieve some of the stolen funds – she made countless long-distance calls to LSBC’s downtown headquarters in Vancouver – only to be passed from one person to another without any clarification.

Insisting to be connected to an LSBC official who had some authority and could speak to the matter, Lawyer Guo was finally put in touch with a woman she thought had such authority.  But after a discourse of almost an hour, the woman finally admitted that the LSBC could not provide her with any instructions or advice as to how she should handle the situation. It was also unlikely that the LSBC’s insurance would cover GLC’s losses.

As if a lack of empathy or any sense of duty officials at British Columbia’s Law Society had shown for one of their members wasn’t bad enough, as soon as the theft started becoming news around the community – and before any formal investigation of the theft by the LSBC – careless LSBC insinuations alleging the theft involved GLC’s “misappropriation” of trust funds suggested Lawyer Guo also have aided and abetted the crooks in committing the crime.  

Hong Guo’s Law Firm

These rumors only became louder when, upon her return from China, Lawyer Hong Guo, and a dozen LSBC investigators appeared unannounced at GLC’s office on April 17, 2016. Treating Lawyer Guo like a criminal, she had to witness the investigators randomly grabbing any files they presumed were related to the theft – making the messy situation Jeff had purposefully left GLC’s books in even messier.

Continuing to receive no assistance from local authorities, Lawyer Guo had no choice but to fly back to China and use all her resources to apprehend the thieves in the faint hope of recovering as much of the stolen trust funds as possible. 

But this also turned out to be a false expectation.  By the time the Chinese police caught Jeff and Danika holed up in a hotel – with Lawyer Guo witnessing the take-down from a police squad car – the stolen money was gone.

The Money Was Gone From The Law firm

Faced with the prospect of her clients losing valuable business opportunities, Lawyer Guo decided to follow US President Teddy Roosevelt, advice that:

 “… in any moment of decision

  • the best thing to do is the right thing
    • the next best thing is the wrong thing, and 
      • the worst thing is to do nothing.

While there remained little chance of retrieving the stolen funds in the short term, Lawyer Hong Guo’s options included filing for bankruptcy.  But that would have left the business transactions of her clients in jeopardy.

So with her client’s best interests always as a top priority, Lawyer Hong Guo immediately went about putting out the wildfires the trust funds shortfall created which included selling much of her real estate assets at bargain prices and borrowing from friends,

As testimony to her resolve, and despite suffering a personal loss, her efforts resulted in not a single client suffering any losses in terms of business opportunities and none of her clients complained with the LSBC. By the end of 2017, she had managed to fully recover all the losses of her clients. 

CALL TO CIVIC DUTY & A MAYORALTY BID IN THE 2018 MUNICIPAL ELECTION:

Given her success in grabbing the bull by the horns, including incarcerating the thieves a second time after they achieved a quick release, and her selfless acts in serving the needs of her clients, the public began seeing her as a hero. 

By the Spring of 2018, with her reputation soaring, leaders of her ethnic community petitioned her to consider running for Mayor in the 2018 Municipal Elections.

With almost two years since the theft, it was hoped the worst was over.  But it soon became apparent that the LSBC, still simmering about being caught in a lie, their Witch Hunt was still on the agenda: they were simply too arrogant ever to admit their mistake,

Perhaps it was Lawyer Hong Guo’s growing reputation as a community leader which spooked them into entering the political fray because on September 3, 2018 – the very day the official election period commenced and nomination papers needed to be filed – the LSBC could not resist ruining an evening of celebration.

DIRTY POLITICS & POLITICAL INTERFERENCE:

On the evening of September 3, 2018, her key supporters at a private dinner gathering had to witness a rare trickle of tears on Candidate Guo’s face as she shared the news that, after formally filing her nomination papers that morning, she had been issued a new citation that afternoon.

She solemnly added that, upon receiving this citation, she immediately knew that the timing of the LSBC action was destined to crater any fair opportunity she and her legions of followers had to succeed in fulfilling the Civic Duty everyone had worked so hard to help her achieve.

As expected, the citation was immediately picked up by the scandal-hungry Richmond News, broadcasting once again her alleged “misappropriation” of trust funds about the theft. 

Unabashedly expressing racist-sexist views by grandstanding on the colourful pallet of falsehoods served to them by Richmond News, even prospective City Counsellors who had no chance of winning, didn’t hold back disparaging Candidate Guo during the final four weeks of the campaign.

Notwithstanding that a majority of Richmond’s more than 50% Asian population (one of the largest diaspora’s of Mainland Chinese in North America) only had “Permanent Residency” status and could not vote, smelling blood after Candidate-Lawyer Guo failed to move the needle in terms of creating a more representative ethnic balance within the Richmond’s Civic establishment, the LSBC’s persecution continued apace.

”THE THEFT WAS THE EASY PART…”:

With the Huawei incident fueling the airwaves by December 2018 and anti-Asian racist sentiment throughout North America, Lawyer Hong Guo once again became a lightning rod in the debate when she reluctantly had to skip GLC’s Christmas lunch acting of the council on behalf of one of the many community organizations for whom she does Pro Bono work.

As it turned out, since she was the only one on the panel who spoke English, it was her quote regarding the likely impact the Huawei scandal would have on Canada/China business relations which made the national headlines – all of which only proved how in tune he was with a geopolitical situation yet to unfold. 

But her modest eloquence on the national stage probably only added fuel to the LSBC fear that it was important to elevate their Kangaroo Court investigations to a fevered pitch – and they did.

Fraud In The Law Firm

Gaining a rear-view perspective into the past, the LSBC‘s possession of files seized in their raid on GLC’s office in April 2016 now gave them unique opportunities to dig for dirt, find fault and allege almost anything they came across going back well before 2016 theft. 

For example, despite a slowdown of acrimony after the theft in 2016 – except for an American paralegal whom Lawyer Guo unwisely hired, and who turned into the worst of many cyphers who exploited her weakness with the LSBC, not to mention terrorized British Columbia’s court system –  GLC continued to attract legitimate new business clients with trust funds for new transactions. 

As a result, it became near impossible for Lawyer Hong Guo to fully ascertain the specific account situation since Jeff had dexterously booby-trapped the books before leaving.  Not even six months of forensic work by two LSBC accountants assigned to reconstruct the GLC books could not decipher what Jeff had created – ending up with a $600,000 discrepancy between them.

Another example of the LSBC selectively digging up potential allegations was when they claimed that Lawyer Hong Guo used funds from one client to complete a property transaction for another, without specifying whose funds she used, but still allegedly terming it “misappropriation” – which, in the public eye is equated with theft.

“MISLEADING”, “LIAR” & “UNGOVERNABLE”:

As the record will prove, despite a temporary interlude before the 2018 Municipal Election, the LSBC has never ceased to treat Lawyer Guo as hostile, as an enemy, and a suspected criminal since 2016, subjecting her to constant harassment, costly hearings and countless questions about transactions from a Decade ago. 

As far as being uncooperative or “misleading”, it is on the record that she always attends every hearing called upon, is always respectful of the process no matter how ridiculous, is courteous and at all times does her level best to cooperate.

But the lengthy timeframes involved in recalling details without the complete set of GLC’s files make it challenging if not impossible for her to remember everything the LSBC wants her to recall and so they now to simply brand her as “lying”, as “misleading” and finally, rendering her as “ungovernable”. 

Yes, perhaps feisty at times, but not “ungovernable”: she is a kind soul to her flock, no push-over for men and a sociologist with a law degree.

However, the totality of damages which the LSBC’s Chinese Water Torture has inflicted on a conscientious, potentially invaluable, highly experienced and seasoned member of their professional society cannot be excused.  

The Federal Court system

Consequently, it may be time for a higher authority within the Provincial and Federal Court system or the democratically elected government to weigh in so that true justice is served.

Once again the words of President Theodore Roosevelt provide some wisdom when he pronounced: “IT IS NOT THE CRITIC WHO COUNTS

  • not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or
  • where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually In the arena, 

  • whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; 
  • who strives valiantly; 
  • who errs,
  • who comes short again and again. 

Because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; but

  • who does strive to do the deeds; 
  • who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; 
  • who spends himself in a worthy cause; 
  • who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and
  • who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, 

so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls 

who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-THEODORE ROOSEVELT

Author: Hong Guo, Guo Law Corporation