A realtor is in trouble with her industry watchdog after lending her client $50,000 to help her buy a property in Richmond.
Wei (Vicky) Wang, a realtor at Sutton Group West Coast Realty, had, according to the watchdog, created a conflict of interest and committed professional misconduct.
Wang, a disciplinary hearing was told, had provided a bank draft of $50,000 to pay her client’s purchase deposit in June of 2016.
The brokerage’s records stated the money was for “loaning to the (client) temporarily.”
However, Wang’s client filed a complaint in October of 2017 to the former Real Estate Council of British Columbia, claiming Wang failed to provide her with a 55 per cent commission rebate for the purchase of two properties and failed to deposit rental cheques on time.
An investigation into Wang’s dealings revealed she had provided the $50,000 to the client when the client did not have enough money for the deposit and was “hesitant on the purchase.”
When an investigator asked Wang for comment in 2018, she said the client had asked to borrow money from her and she agreed without hesitation “just because of eight years (of) friendship” with the client.
Wang sent the client WeChat messages asking to be repaid and the client’s husband later wire-transferred $49,982.50 to Wang in June of 2016.
Wang’s disciplinary hearing by the B.C. Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) started on Jan. 25 this year, but it was adjourned due to an error in the notice of hearing.
Wang tried to adjourn the hearing again in February, first claiming she would be too busy tending to clients and later claiming she needed to seek legal advice. Her applications were denied.
“I am of the view that Ms. Wang is simply seeking to delay the hearing of this matter,” wrote BCFSA chief hearing officer Andrew Pendray in the February decision.
During the disciplinary hearing, Wang told Pendray she felt the client took advantage of her by requesting the $50,000 from her.
She testified she used the word “loan” incorrectly and she did not consider the $50,000 to have been a loan since there was no written agreement and no interest was collected.
Wang further told Pendray she didn’t tell the client the $50,000 loan was a conflict of interest because she did not consider it to be one. She added the loan was not related to the commission she ended up earning from the purchase.
“Ms. Wang stated that she had not had an intention of making a commission, she was simply providing the money to the client due to their friendship,” wrote Pendray.
Wang also claimed she subsequently agreed to a commission rebate because she was “afraid” the client would not pay her back otherwise.
Friendship does not change nature of transaction
Pendray ultimately determined the $50,000 was a loan to pay the deposit for the Richmond property and Wang’s note in the brokerage’s records back in 2016 that she was “loaning to the (client) temporarily” was the most compelling evidence.
He added that the friendship between Wang and the client does not change the nature of the transaction, and Wang’s note along with her WeChat messages requesting repayment showed she expected to be repaid.
It was more likely than not, wrote Pendray, that Wang loaned the client $50,000 to secure her commission upon completion of the purchase, which would not have gone forward without the loan for the deposit.
Pendray also found Wang committed professional misconduct by creating a conflict of interest and failing to inform the client of the conflict.
“… the reality of the situation is that once Ms. Wang’s own money became part of the transaction for the purchase of (the Richmond property), she had a personal financial interest in the transaction beyond that which a licensee would normally have,” he wrote.
Wang’s penalty will be determined at a later date.