An Auckland real estate agent, described as "commercially naive", has been suspended for 18 months.
Tracy Taylor worked for LJ Hooker Ellerslie when she was involved in deals to buy then on-sell properties between members of a group of people associated with Ramasubramanian Narayanaraja, the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal decision said.
But those deals had all the hallmarks of trying to mislead Westpac into believing the properties had a higher value than they really did, the authority said.
Applications were made to Westpac Bank for finance and the tribunal said the pattern of dealings involving Ramasubramanian and his associates "amounted to mortgage fraud schemes."
The tribunal has now handed down its penalty, taking Taylor's license for 18 months, censuring her and ordering she undergo further training.
"We consider that the licensee became involved in the transactions because she is commercially naive and did not think through the consequences of what she was doing," the tribunal said.
She may have been induced to turn a blind eye to the possibility of the fraud scheme because of the easy commission, it said.
"What was being offered to her was an opportunity to make some money without any real effort being required on her part," it said.
Taylor told the authority she did not know what mortgage fraud was but she did agree there was something "strange" about the transactions the parties were entering into.
Taylor met Ramasubramanian Narayanaraja at an open home and later met his wife Prema and his brother Jaz-Deepak Singh, the tribunal said.
It expressed concern that she continued to deny any wrongdoing and showed a lack of understanding of how she could have done anything wrong.
In her defence, the tribunal heard about "very real hardship in her personal life" and said it noted she made an attempt to get guidance from her manager. Taylor was not personally involved in the apparently dishonest scheme, it said. Any benefit she got was her commission of $10,000 per transaction.
But the tribunal said Taylor's conduct fell well below the standard required and it took the license as a substantial financial penalty, preventing her from earning an income during the suspension period.
Attempts to contact Taylor were unsuccessful.
LJ Hooker managing director Josephine Kinsella declined to comment on account of only having started her new role in the last month.