29 Aug 2016

Auckland real estate agent charged with fraud

6:16 pm on 29 August 2016

An Auckland real estate agent has been charged with tricking two homeowners into selling him their properties cheaply.

Aaron Hughes has been charged with fraud and unlicensed trading by the Real Estate Agents Authority.

Mr Hughes' licence was revoked a week ago, after he surrendered it in April.

The former Barfoot and Thompson Papatoetoe agent is accused of failing to disclose the real price of a Mount Wellington house to vendors he was representing, before buying it through his company and then selling it for over $700,000 more.

Mr Hughes has also been charged with buying a Mangere Bridge house for $590,000 when it was worth $720,000, again while acting on behalf of a vendor.

He still owns the Mangere Bridge property.

Last month Mr Hughes pleaded guilty to misconduct over the sale of a Papatoetoe house, for failing to obtain the best possible price and bringing the industry into disrepute.

Real Estate Agents Authority chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith said, while people needed to trust their agents, they should do their homework first.

Mr Lampen-Smith said there were tools available for checking how much homes in their area were worth, from the QV website to Trade Me listings.

Any time a vendor felt uneasy or rushed by a real estate agent, they should be suspicious, he said.