Property agent fakes offers, gets $30,000 fine and 12-month suspension
A property agent lied to both his client and the seller repeatedly in an attempt to make more money off a deal.
Ngu Ping Chuan James Ethan of PropNex Realty was fined $30,000 for three charges of breaches to the Council for Estate Agencies' (CEA) Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care while representing his client in the purchase of a condominium unit. He also faces a 12-month suspension.
This is the highest sentence a CEA disciplinary committee has meted out to a property agent in disciplinary proceedings.
In a press release yesterday, the statutory board said the 39-year-old failed to represent his client's best interest and instead prioritised his own profit from commissions.
It added that his wrongful conduct caused his client to suffer a loss or disadvantage of $20,000 to $30,000.
In 2016, Ngu's client engaged him to source for private property in the eastern or central part of Singapore.
In March last year, they viewed a unit priced at $1.04 million. Ngu tried to negotiate with the seller's agent over the price and commission payable to him.
The agent told Ngu the seller was willing to sell at $1.02 million.Ngu kept quiet as the seller was willing to pay only 1 per cent commission, instead of the 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent that he wanted.
Ngu told his client the valuation of the property was $1.18 million on average and suggested he make an offer of $1.06 million. His client's own checks with a bank showed the estimated value of the property was $950,000 to $1 million.
Ngu later claimed the seller had counter-offered $1.04 million. He also told the seller's agent that his client offered $1.04 million, with a commission of 4 per cent to be paid by the seller and shared between both agents.
He had made both offers up.
Ngu then asked for 3 per cent commission for himself, which was about $30,000.
The seller's agent lowered the price tag to $1.01 million and asked Ngu to get his commission from his client instead.
Ngu did not tell his client of the lower price and advised his client not to proceed with the purchase as the price was high.
The client found out the truth after reaching out directly to the seller to purchase the property at $1.04 million, which the seller accepted.
Ngu was charged with failing to convey the offer and counter- offer and for failing to declare his conflict of interest, which arose from his getting a commission from the seller.
Five other charges against Ngu were also considered during the sentencing.