The Real Estate Agents Authority is investigating apparent "abnormalities" in the trust account of a big Auckland real estate business which trades as Harcourts.
Kevin Lampen-Smith, authority chief executive, said today his organisation was working with Preet & Co and Harcourts as a result of its investigations.
"We are confident that no consumers have lost funds as a result of the abnormalities in this trust fund. As our investigations are ongoing we are unable to comment further," Lampen-Smith said.
Preet Grewal, a licensed agent who is managing director of the multi-agency Harcourts Preet and Co Group, said he discovered a discrepancy.
"In early August I discovered a discrepancy in the trust account funds and immediately notified the auditors and Harcourts," Preet told the Herald.
"No funds were ever transferred to me. No one has suffered any loss and I have stepped down while the Real Estate Agents Authority investigates as that is the appropriate thing to do," he said.
Agents operate big trust accounts where client money is deposited while real estate transactions are completed and those accounts must be audited.
Last year, Grewal said Harcourts Preet & Co had the Manukau, Otahuhu, Botany and Ellerslie offices, and had also taken over the established Harcourts offices in Howick, Meadowlands and Pakuranga.
Grewal's web site said the Harcourts Preet and Co Group had "overseen the complete transformation of this real estate firm into one of the leading agencies in south and east Auckland.
"During this time Harcourts Preet & Co multi-office network has won numerous awards. The Harcourts Preet and Co Group, now provides its clients, with excellence not only in residential sales but also in an industry leading property management services," the site says.
Chris Kennedy, Harcourts chief executive, confirmed that Preet had stepped down.
"Preet Grewal has voluntarily suspended his licence while the REAA looks into possible abnormalities in the trust account for Preet & Co Real Estate. However Harcourts Group Ltd has ensured no member of the public with monies in the trust account has been affected.
"Preet Grewal is a shareholder in Preet & Co Real Estate Ltd and Preet & Co Rentals Ltd with 10 offices and he is still on the company's web site," Kennedy said.
The authority shows Grewal first entered the register of licensed salespeople in 2009.