PHOTO: Real estate agent. FILE
According to STUFF a real estate agent and his company have been fined after the agent forged vendors’ signatures on six property deals.”
The New Zealand Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal censured and fined Andrew Rankin for the forged signings on agency agreements in the Pahīatua region between January and August 2020.
Tremain Real Estate Wairarapa Ltd was also censured and fined for misconduct for failing to report to the authority as required by its rules, when it initially became aware of one of Rankin’s forgeries.
Rankin admitted his actions, but did not take part in the tribunal’s hearing. He was fined $2000 and is no longer a licensed agent.
The charges of forging vendors’ signatures related to sales agreements for properties on Pukemiku Rd, Pitt St, Sedcole St, Bowen St, Tyndall St and George St.
His offending came to light in August 2020 when the vendors of the George St property realised they had not signed the agreement that been completed so contacted Tremain Wairarapa’s regional manager Rob Slater.
Tremains did not report the incident, but was contacted by the authority a month later when it became aware of an issue with the Tyndall St sale.
“The agency had only been aware of the George St matter until then. At this point, the authority and the agency simultaneously became aware of more than one incident,” the ruling said.
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The authority then undertook a review of Rankin’s listings over the previous 12 months and discovered other forgeries.
The tribunal ruling said the uncovering of the forgeries and subsequent process had significant impact on the agent.
“This episode has resulted in his personal and family life crumbling under the pressure of it all. He was put on medication. It helped him to realise how much of a mess he was in.
“Mr Rankin says he makes no excuses for what he has done. He is not proud of it. It might shed some light on why and how some people lose their way with mental stress.”
The tribunal’s complaints assessment committee counsel assessed Tremain Wairarapa’s misconduct as “low to moderate”.
“While Tremain Real Estate did not report Mr Rankin’s wrongdoing, it did not ignore it either. It put in place a process which would have been effective in protecting the public, had his employment with the agency continued.”
Tremains was fined $2000 and also censured.
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