A lawyer pleaded guilty on Wednesday (Jun 15) to charges of giving legal advice to four women, despite having been disbarred in 2012 for misconduct.
Leonard Loo, 45, entered a guilty plea on Wednesday morning, 25 days into his trial for charges under the Legal Profession Act, and after the prosecution had called 11 witnesses to the stand.
He pleaded guilty to four counts; another three will be taken into consideration during sentencing.
Loo admitted to giving legal advice to four women from China in 2013, three of whom had been arrested for vice-related activities and were facing the prospect of deportation. All testified against him during the trial.
In November 2013, one of Loo’s victims, Ms Zhao Kejing, was arrested for her suspected involvement in vice-related activities. Her passport was seized and arrangements made for her repatriation to China. Ms Zhao called her landlord, who referred her to Loo.
The pair met that night at a bar in Balestier, and believing that Loo was a lawyer, Ms Zhao asked for his help to get her passport back from the authorities and prevent a ban on her return to Singapore in future.
Loo said he could file an appeal on her behalf, and asked for S$800 in return. He drafted two letters and an e-mail to authorities, in which he also stated Ms Zhao’s arrest was a misunderstanding. He sent these in her name, as he was disbarred at the time. In total, Ms Zhao paid Loo S$600.
Loo used the same modus operandi on another two victims on the same day. The women, also Chinese nationals arrested for vice-related activities, were similarly referred to Loo by their landlord. They paid Loo S$800 each for his services.
The landlord, Gerald Koh, was named in one of the charges against Loo for engaging in a conspiracy, in which Koh solicited clients on Loo’s behalf in return for a fee.
In court on Wednesday, Loo sought permission to travel for business and pleasure before his sentencing in August. His bail was doubled to S$10,000 with conditions, including that his passport be returned to authorities within 24 hours of his return to Singapore.
He is expected to be sentenced on Aug 12.
For giving the women legal advice as a disbarred lawyer, Loo faces up to six months’ jail and/or a fine of up to S$25,000.