A real estate agent forged the signature of sellers on six real estate transactions

The charges of forging sellers' signatures related to contracts for the sale of properties in the Pahiatua area.

KATHRYN GEORGE / Stuff

The charges of forging sellers’ signatures related to contracts for the sale of properties in the Pahiatua area.

A real estate agent and his company have been fined after the agent forged sellers’ signatures on six real estate transactions.

The New Zealand Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal censured and fined Andrew Rankin for forged signatures of agency contracts in the Pahiatua area between January and August 2020.

Tremain Real Estate Wairarapa Ltd was also censured and fined for misconduct for failing to report to authority as required by its rules, when it initially became aware of one of Rankin’s forgeries.

Rankin admitted his actions, but did not participate in the court hearing. He was fined $2,000 and is no longer a licensed agent.

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Charges of forging sellers’ signatures related to sales contracts for properties on Pukemiku Rd, Pitt St, Sedcole St, Bowen St, Tyndall St and George St.

His breach came to light in August 2020 when the sellers of the George St property realized they had not signed the agreement that had been reached, so they contacted Tremain Wairarapa Regional Manager Rob Slater.

Tremains did not report the incident, but was contacted by the authority a month later when it became aware of a problem with the sale of Tyndall St.

“The agency was only aware of the George St case up to this point. At this point, the authority and the agency simultaneously became aware of more than one incident,” the ruling said.

The authority then undertook a review of Rankin lists over the previous 12 months and discovered further forgeries.

The court ruling said the discovery of the forgeries and the subsequent process had a significant impact on the agent.

“This episode resulted in his personal and family life collapsing under the pressure of it all. He was put on medication. It helped him realize how badly he was in trouble.

“Mr. Rankin says he makes no excuse for what he did. He’s not proud of it. This could shed some light on why and how some people lose their way due to mental stress.

Counsel for the court’s Complaints Review Committee described Tremain Wairarapa’s misconduct as “low to moderate”.

“While Tremain Real Estate did not report Mr. Rankin’s wrongdoing, it also did not ignore it. He put in place a process that would have been effective in protecting the public had his employment with the agency continued.

Tremains was fined $2,000 and also censored.

About Wanda G. Warren

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