Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Tribunal: Agent upped house values, misled investigator

Former West Auckland real estate agent Sant Raj. Photo / Supplied
Former West Auckland real estate agent Sant Raj. Photo / Supplied

A former West Auckland real estate agent gave misleading information to a state investigator in a big mortgage ramping case, a tribunal says.

Sant Raj was found by the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal not to have provided correct information during the official inquiry into the scheme which also involved his son and his wife.

House values in Mangere, Mt Wellington and Henderson were falsely inflated to deceive the BNZ into lending more than the houses were worth and the family benefited financially from the scheme.

The tribunal found against the agent for the way he responded to questions about the scheme, but is yet to issue a penalty.

He worked at Kiwi Best Realty, formerly trading as Re/Max from 2/4 Henderson Valley Rd, but did not appear at the tribunal's hearing this week.

On three occasions last July and August, he gave false or misleading information to a Real Estate Agents Authority investigator who was examining the activities which also involved fellow Re/Max Henderson agent Rajneel Raj, Sant Raj's son.

Rajneel Raj pocketed more than $180,000, mainly from house buyers, after loan applications were approved at the BNZ's Newmarket branch.

Sant Raj was charged with knowing the information he gave in that investigation was false or misleading. He worked at Re/Max from 2009 until March this year.

His son's case was heard by the tribunal in June when it was described as the most serious prosecution of an agent under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008.

The tribunal heard evidence that Sant Raj told the investigator "he knew nothing about the purchase/on-sale transactions in his wife's name" on the sale of 32 Mataroa Rd in Mt Wellington or 3/51 Henderson Valley Rd.

His wife is Rajneel Raj's mother, Urmila Devi, also known as Urmila Devi Santraj.

Sant Raj further stated he was not aware of his wife receiving any funds for the sale of the two properties.

ALL IN THE FAMILY

* Son: Rajneel Raj case heard in June.
* Father: Sant Raj (pictured), case heard this week.
* Wife: Urmila Devi, also known as Urmila Devi Santraj, cited in both cases.

Source: Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal evidence.

- NZ Herald

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