Richmond lawyer claiming to have millions stolen considers running for municipal office

Guo said she has paid back all the $7.5 million she claimed to be stolen by staff, but the Law Society of BC said part of it is still outstanding

A Richmond real estate lawyer, who’s currently under investigation regarding the $7.5 million she claimed to be stolen by staff from her company’s trust fund, may run for mayor in the upcoming election.

Hong Guo, founder and director of Richmond-based Guo Law Corporation, said she is considering running for mayor of Richmond, although a final decision hasn’t been made.

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(Since the interview, Guo has added that she is considering running for either councilor or mayor of Richmond.)

“I think Richmond needs some change. I feel very frustrated with safety, transportation, garbage treatment and other issues in Richmond,” Guo told the Richmond News.

“As a long-time Richmond resident, I feel that I have the responsibility to do something about it.”

Guo said she came up with the idea because many people in the community have asked her to run and have shown their support.

“I have lived in Richmond for almost 20 years and practised law in Richmond for almost 10 years, serving the community. I also offer free legal services for 20 charities,” said Guo.

“Because I like to help people, I have received a lot of popularity and support in the Richmond community, especially within the Chinese community.”

Guo held a Press Conference last December and claimed that $7.5 million from her firm’s trust fund was stolen by two former employees, including her bookkeeper, in March 2016.

They, according to Guo, used forged checks to transfer the funds from the banks and then laundered them through a Lower Mainland casino to China.

She further claimed that she had paid back all of the $7.5 million, partly by selling one of her most valuable properties.

However, David Jordan, spokesperson for the Law Society of BC, told the News that only part of the trust fund shortage has been re-paid.

And he added that the society’s “investigation (into Guo) is still ongoing and her law firm remains under partial custodianship,” from the society.

Jordan said he couldn’t go into specifics of how much is outstanding.

Guo said she is not afraid of being taken to task by the public on the investigation, if she puts her name forward for mayor.

“I will tell everyone the fact; I’m a victim. But, as a victim, I returned all the $7.5 million missing from the trust fund with my own money, not having one deal fall through,” said Guo.

“It is a lot of money and was a great blow to me. But the good thing is, people in the community see how responsible I am, even in such a difficult situation. I have earned a lot of respect.

“I’m considered as a hero (by many) in the Chinese community.”

Guo told the News that, if she is elected as mayor, she will increase the police force and cameras in the city as “the safety problem in the city is too severe.”

“I am a lawyer and I deal with all those social problems every day...I have a client from Richmond, who was kidnapped for three hours and all his possessions at home were taken away,” said Guo.

“The security is getting worse, because the city is not addressing it enough. If you don’t emphasize it, criminals will run rampant.

“It’s like raising a child. If you have spoiled the child, it’s harder to regulate them later.”

She also criticized the current transportation conditions and garbage treatment policies in Richmond.

“I would build bridges to relieve transit pressures and increase garbage pick-up to once a week.”

In terms of funding to realize all of this, Guo said, “the City of Richmond has the money, it’s just that their spending is unreasonable.”

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