Property agent fined after altering documents for more commission
A property agent has been fined and suspended after he altered official documents to collect additional commissions of more than $55,000.
The total sum he received was about seven times more than what he was entitled to.
George Peh Meng Woon, 45, of KF Property Network, was fined $27,000 after pleading guilty to three charges for breaches to the Council for Estate Agencies' (CEA) Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care.
Four similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing by the CEA disciplinary committee.
His registration as a property agent has also been suspended for 10 months starting from yesterday.
Peh, then an agent with DTZ Property Network, committed the breaches from December 2013 to May 2014. Three tenants had engaged him during the period to source for suitable properties to lease.
After bringing them to view properties, the clients agreed to lease them and pay him commission fees.
Peh also asked the three property agents representing the landlords to co-broke the transactions with him, but did not tell them he would be collecting commission fees from his own tenant-clients.
All three agents agreed to the co-broke arrangements and signed agreements with him.
To disguise and obtain the commissions he was receiving from his clients, Peh altered official DTZ documents without authorisation, changing the Commission Agreement for Lease (Tenant) to Property Management Agreements instead.
He disguised the sums he received from clients as property management fees, collecting more than $55,000 on top of the $8,785 he received as part of the co-broking arrangement.
He also failed to declare the additional commissions to his company.
In a statement yesterday, CEA said Peh's disreputable behaviour resulted in multiple parties being defrauded and these actions went against the core of his professional duties.
"CEA advises consumers who choose to have a property agent to facilitate their rental transaction to note that agents can only represent one party in a single transaction... and not both parties, and the agents cannot collect commissions from both parties in that same transaction," it said.
Consumers can report agents they suspect to be unprofessional and unethical to CEA at 1800-643-2555 or email@example.com