Agent charged with fraud and unlicensed trading

 
 
29/08/2016
The Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA), the watchdog for New Zealand’s real estate industry, has just laid fraud and unlicensed trading charges against Auckland agent Aaron Hughes.  The charges are the result of an extensive investigation by the REAA into Mr Hughes activities.  

These charges are in addition to the two misconduct charges that Mr Hughes pleaded guilty to last month.  In a decision dated 24 August 2016 the Tribunal ordered the cancellation of Mr Hughes’s licence in relation to that conduct. (See below for more information about these charges). 

The two fraud charges that have just been laid are in relation to Mr Hughes’ conduct involving the purchase of two properties.  The first charge alleges that Mr Hughes, while acting as agent for the vendors of a Mt Wellington property, did not disclose to them that he had obtained a valuation for the property of $1.2m. He then, through his company, bought the property for $530,000 and three months later on sold the property for $1,255,000 causing the vendors to suffer loss.  

The second charge alleges that Mr Hughes, while acting as agent for the vendor of a Mangere Bridge property, did not disclose to him that he had a valuation for the property of $720,000.  He then, through his company, bought the property for $590,000. Mr Hughes’s company still owns this property.

Mr Hughes has also been charged with unlicensed trading for carrying out real estate agency work without a licence.  This charge relates to his role in marketing three properties for sale after he had voluntarily surrendered his real estate salesperson’s licence on 23 April 2016.

“The buying and selling of property is a big deal, both financially and emotionally, and New Zealand’s consumers should be able to trust that the person they are dealing with is licenced, will treat them fairly and that they are playing by the rules” said Kevin Lampen-Smith, the REAA’s Chief Executive. 

“The majority of agents are professional and are out there doing a good job.  Our role is to protect consumers and promote a professional industry so agents who break the rules will be held to account and will face serious consequences.”

“One of the key thing consumers can do to protect themselves when buying or selling real estate is to make sure that they are dealing with a licensed real estate agent. You can check the REAA’s Public R​egister​ to see if someone is licensed and if they have had any complaints upheld against them” concluded Mr Lampen-Smith.

The two fraud charges and the unlicensed trading charge have been laid as two separate proceedings. The first call of the charges is set for 27 September 2016 at the Auckland District Court.



Further information: Misconduct Charges

Mr Hughes pleaded guilty to the following two charges of misconduct in July 2016.
  • ​The first charge against Mr Hughes alleged that Mr Hughes failed to obtain the best possible price for the vendors of a property in Fitzroy Street, Papatoetoe, Auckland, and brought the industry into disrepute by on-selling the property on the same day for approximately 15% more than the price he obtained for the original vendors. The charge was admitted by Mr Hughes.
  • The second misconduct charge admitted by Mr Hughes involved a property in Carlie Street, Papatoetoe. That charge alleged that Mr Hughes failed to ensure that he obtained the best possible price for his clients, did not provide an adequate appraisal, or advise them of the disadvantages of not fully exposing the property to market before accepting an offer. That property was also on-sold within a few days. 
The Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal has cancelled Mr Hughes’s licence in relation to these two charges. 

About the Real Estate Agents Authority 

The Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) is the independent government regulatory body for the real estate industry in New Zealand. Our job is to promote a high standard of service and professionalism in the real estate industry and help protect and promote the interests of buyers and sellers. We provide information and guidance for buyers and sellers, provide advice and guidance for agents and deal with complaints about agents' behaviour.

The REAA is a Crown entity, established under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008.

Contact


media@reaa.govt.nz