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Council for Estate Agencies fines property firm, agent over NZ property sale

THE Council for Estate Agencies' (CEA) disciplinary committee said on Monday it has fined SQFT Global Properties Singapore Pte Ltd S$10,000 for failing to supervise its former agent, Paleenia Wong, over the sale and marketing of Albany Heights Villas, a property in Auckland, New Zealand.

Ms Wong was also fined S$6,000 for misrepresentation to an investor.

CEA said the investor was told that the NZ$65,000 (S$65,790) used to pay for a unit in Albany Heights Villas would be kept safe in a law practice's trust account for the construction of Albany Heights Villas. He was further told that the developer, Albany Heights Villa Ltd, would not be able to use the money in the trust account for other purposes.

"The representation turned out to be false as the developer took money from the trust account without any construction having started on Albany Heights Villas. The investor has not been able to recover the money," CEA said.

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CEA said neither SQFT nor Ms Wong conducted proper due diligence checks on the bank account that the money was deposited into. Albany Heights Villa Ltd went into liquidation around February 2013.