Gene Wook Choe - #187704
The following information is from the official records of The State Bar of California.
PO Box 70057
Los Angeles, CA 90070
|Phone Number:||(213) 290-3633|
|Fax Number:||Not Available|
||Undergraduate School:||Occidental Coll; Los Angeles CA|
|Sections:||None||Law School:||Univ of West Los Angeles; Los Angeles CA|
Actions Affecting Eligibility to Practice Law in California
State Bar Court Cases
NOTE: The State Bar Court began posting public discipline documents online in 2005. The format and pagination of documents posted on this site may vary from the originals in the case file as a result of their translation from the original format into Word and PDF. Copies of additional related documents in a case are available upon request. Only Opinions designated for publication in the State Bar Court Reporter may be cited or relied on as precedent in State Bar Court proceedings. For further information about a case that is displayed here, please refer to the State Bar Court's online docket, which can be found at: http://apps.statebarcourt.ca.gov/dockets.aspx
DISCLAIMER: Any posted Notice of Disciplinary Charges, Conviction Transmittal or other initiating document, contains only allegations of professional misconduct. The attorney is presumed to be innocent of any misconduct warranting discipline until the charges have been proven.
|Effective Date||Case Number||Description|
|4/5/2016||11-O-14497||Modification Order [PDF]|
California Bar Journal Discipline Summaries
Summaries from the California Bar Journal are based on discipline orders but are not the official records. Not all discipline actions have associated CBJ summaries. Copies of official attorney discipline records are available upon request.
August 28, 2016
GENE WOOK CHOE [#187704], 53, of Los Angeles, was disbarred Aug. 28, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.A hearing judge found Choe culpable of 65 counts of misconduct including collecting $258,400 in illegal advanced fees for loan modification work, making unauthorized withdrawals from client accounts and committing acts constituting moral turpitude connected to his bankruptcy practice. Choe appealed, denying the most serious charges and arguing that only a long period of suspension was warranted. A three-judge review panel upheld the disbarment recommendation, noting that “Choe’s misconduct in his loan modification and bankruptcy practices was egregious and widespread, spanning nearly two years.”For nearly a decade Choe ran a civil practice in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles, expanding it in 2008 to provide loan modification services as well as bankruptcy and foreclosure defense. The practice grew to three offices with more than 35 lawyers, 50 administrative staff and more than 1,300 active clients.The complaints to the State Bar began in 2011. In 2012, the California Attorney General, joined by representatives of the State Bar, executed a search warrant on his Los Angeles Office. Soon after, Choe moved to a new location in Los Angeles and resumed his loan modification work under a new business name.A State Bar Court hearing judge found Choe culpable of 25 counts of collecting illegal fees, seven counts of moral turpitude for the unauthorized withdrawal of client funds, nine counts of failing to return unearned fees, 15 counts of failing to render accounts of client funds, two counts of failing to release client files, improper withdrawal from employment, failing to respond to client inquiries, improper soliciation, seeking to mislead a judge and failure to comply with bankruptcy laws. He was also found culpable of moral turpitude for his handling of seven bankruptcy petitions.Twenty-five individuals and couples hired Choe between August 2010 and June 2012 and agreed to pay a flat fee first and a monthly flat fee after. He collected the money by depositing postdated checks he’d previously received from the clients or through electronic withdrawals directly from their accounts.In its decision, the panel noted that Choe “exploited his client’s financial desparation and his fiduciary position by charging advanced fees.”Choe had no prior record of discipline. He was ordered to pay $233,234 plus interest in restitution.