A real estate agent who forged clients' signatures, and then
tried laughing it off as "just fooling around in the office",
has had his licence stripped.
Kevin Stevenson has also been ordered to pay $1,683 in
compensation after the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary
Tribunal found he was guilty of "disgraceful conduct".
He was working for Professionals (MacPherson Realty Ltd) in
Invercargill, when colleague Tracy Beer wanted to sell her
marital home in 2011.
Company policy meant she couldn't sell her own home, so she
enlisted Stevenson as the selling agent.
But company bosses became aware of allegations that Stevenson
had forced the signature and initials of Tracy and her
husband Nathan Beer on a commission rate form and a
disclosure by agent form.
They enlisted a forensic document examiner who confirmed they
had not been signed by Mr and Mrs Beer.
Stevenson's contract was torn up and a report of "suspected
misconduct" was sent to the Real Estate Agents Authority.
An investigator visited Stevenson and questioned him over
evidence the Beers' signatures had been falsified.
"Yeah it was just fooling around in the office yeah," he
"[It] wasn't even supposed to go into the files.... We were
just having a bit of fun yeah."
The estate agents watchdog accused him of three misconduct
charges, including forgery, seriously incompetent or
negligent real estate agency work relating to the sale of the
Beers' property, and failing to follow proper guidelines.
Stevenson argued that he had provided an "exceptional
service" to the Beers, saying that the two falsified
documents were of no advantage to him.
He suggested that the complaint was only made against him
because the potential buyer had not bought the house, and had
instead bought another property.
But the tribunal had "no difficulty" in concluding the
forgery - even just for the sake of completing paperwork and
not for any monetary gain - did amount to "disgraceful
"Agents need to be seen to be completely compliant with the
law in order to enjoy the benefits of registration and
licensing as agents".
In a decision out today, the tribunal cancelled Stevenson's
real estate agents licence and ordered him to pay the Real
Estate Agents Authority $1683.73 in compensation for
additional legal costs.