Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dishonest realtor's punishment questioned by victim - CTV BC

Meet Janet MacKenzie.

She's the condo buyer we told you about yesterday who made an offer on a Yaletown property that was listed with a reduced realtor's commission.

Her realtor, Marco Vincenzi, tried to make a deal behind her back that would compensate him for the money he stood to lose on that reduced commission. To accomplish this, he forged documents on MacKenzie's behalf that resulted in direct financial gain for himself.

When MacKenzie was made aware of what he was doing, she went to Vincenzi's real estate office in Coquitlam and demanded a meeting with his boss, Jason Watson. Watson insisted in a recorded conversation that Vincenzi’s days as a realtor were done.
"Ultimately by the end of the day, I can't say it will be tomorrow, but probably by Monday he won't have a license," said Jason Watson, managing broker at Sutton Group – West Coast Realty."
But rather than see MacKenzie take her concerns about Vincenzi to police for formal charges, CTV-BC reports that Janet Watson, the managing broker at Sutton Group - West Coast Realty, told MacKenzie not to call police.

Instead MacKenzie was urged to allow the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) to handle the matter. CTV-BC reports Mackenzie was assured the RECBC would see that Vincenzi would lose his license permanently.

In a ruling that surprises no one who follows this blog though, the RECBC didn't revoke Vincenzi's real estate license.

Vincenzi was found to have committed professional misconduct. The RECBC ordered him to pay $1,250, take a remedial course and gave him a measly 120 day suspension.

Vincenzi's explanations for his actions?
Vincenzi told the Real Estate Council he was in the running for a platinum award given to realtors who secure $100,000 in commissions for the year. The council's ruling says, "at the time of the transaction he had earned approximately $90,000 and he states that there was a lot of pressure of him to put him over the $100,000 threshold."

Vincenzi also told the council he was facing "a great deal of financial pressure" because of his upcoming wedding.
So Vincenzi claims he forged his client's documents because he's publicity hungry for a realtor award. There's also the small matter that hes desperate for cash to pay for a upcoming wedding... and this is justification not to ban him from selling real estate forever?

Says MacKenzie:
"The idea of saying, ‘well, because I was under financial pressure, that's okay, somehow makes this okay,’ it doesn't. It's not acceptable. Knowing right from wrong is kind of a basic principle."
No kidding.

It's the same basic principle that doesn't excuse one from going on TV to lie to about Asian buyers  during Chinese New Year.

These are the actions of a few that tarnish and destroy the reputations of an entire industry.  Why is the RECBC even tolerating this behaviour?

What rankles even more is that Vincenzi's suspension doesn’t kick in until June and it appears the Metro Vancouver realtor is still in business, accepting calls on a current listing from a CTV intern posing as a potential customer. 

CTV-BC consumer reporter Lynda Steele went to Sutton Realty in Coquitlam to see what Vincenzi's boss, Jason Watson, had to say about his employee's professional misconduct, but she was told Watson was in a meeting and not available.

It reminds us of the liars from the MAC Marketing Solutions scandal who are still out selling real estate while under investigation for their transgressions. Does the RECBC not appreciate the optics of their inaction?

CTV-BC says they are airing a third part to this story tomorrow.

For the sake of the public at large, and the industry as a whole, let's hope they continue to pursue this issue.


Email: village_whisperer@live.ca
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  1. Your posts are much appreciated. They would be even more so if edited more carefully.

  2. Whole the whole industry needs to be cleaned up in a big way.
    It reminds me of the OLG scandal. Too lax regulations/procedures and too many areas for conflict of interest.

  3. Self regulation is typically lenient when handing out discipline and penalties.

    Recourse has to be sought through the courts.

    Unfortunately for Ms. MacKenzie a court action would only be successful if she could establish she suffered quantifiable damages.

  4. His fine is less than the amount he tried to steal from her. Doesn't anyone else see this as a serious gap of logic?

  5. Jason Watson is complicit in this fraud because he tried to cover up the crime. Yes, uttering forged documents is really a crime.

  6. I wonder what Mr. Vincenzi's current clients think of the person they are working with? I wonder if they are questioning their trust in such a person.

    When I first met my Realtor, I asked, have you ever been fired by a client? Have you ever faced disciplinary action by your brokerage or RECBC? The answers were no to both, so I googled him and searched RECBC and didn't see any reason to not work with him.

  7. We should all email this dude


    And ask him to explain the situation and why Marco Vincenzi still has a job. We need to expose this to the media so it doesnt happen again.

    RECBC is a joke

  8. Even with medicine and dentistry, if they acted out of monetary/self interests, the chances of physicians/dentists losing their licenses are pretty slim, and we're talking about your health, not just mere money.

  9. Absolutely pathetic punishment for such a serious crime...Then out of curiosity I check out his website and see reference and offer of a mortgage rate as low as .99%...LIES!!!
    I have been a mortgage lender/broker for 24 years, I have access to 30+ mortgage lenders and NOWHERE, NOWHERE can you get a mortgage for less than 1%....This guy should be out of business permanently

  10. Liars to the left
    Cheaters to the right
    Stuck in the middle with you

    Senators,realturds,gov't employees,police chiefs,businesses and on and on and on...

    I might consider withholding paying income tax next year. See how long I can go before the tax collector comes running at my door.

    Now imagine if 15M households did that?

  11. @banned,

    Great idea! After that, you can get those same 15M people to stop voting.

    1. Which would topple a government in an instant knowing that 1) gov't revenues have dried up 2) democracy is no longer our 'raison d'etre' 3)It wouldn't be long till all the gov't employees/retirees would retaliate against the PM's office.

  12. Aren't fogery and fraud criminal offenses in Canada? In the U.S., the police and the district attorney would be after the alleged offender regardless of what the industry group does or doesn't do.

  13. "Janet Watson, the managing broker at Sutton Group - West Coast Realty, told MacKenzie not to call police."

    Jason or Janet? Either way its a bit disturbing. It would be a lot clearer if police had definitively been involved. If they hadn't pressed charges we would have some sort of indication that the news story is (perhaps) blowing a little strong. On the other hand, if they had pressed charges it would serve as confirmation that we're looking at the real deal.

    So I'm squarely with Anonymous 2:54: Isn't forgery a crime here?

    1. >Rob

      This agent may not be criminally charged by police, or not losing licence.
      That's not the point. You know that.

      Forging client's signature, alter the price without his client's knowledge, is absolutely not acceptable practice.
      Again, he may not be criminally charged. With what he did, penalty given to this agent is just too small.

      By the way, anyone know if Real Estate Buy / Sell form provincial legal paper?
      Or just paper issued by MLS?

  14. @turkey,

    Ahhh, I get your point. Didn't think of that. So they hold us hostage either way! What a beautiful democratic system our honorable beaurocrats have turned this into.

  15. She could still go to the police couldn't she?

  16. End of video:

    "So how often are realtors caught doing unethical things?"

    "Well, we did some digging and what we found will likely have you thinking twice before hiring a realtor in this province."

  17. Anonymous:

    Nothing I've written indicates that I think forgery is an acceptable practice. If it was up to me it would be more common for bad actors to lose their licenses.

    I've seen indications that the police were notified but declined to proceed. Why would cops do that? A crime is alleged to have been committed and they stand idly by. Are cops lazy? Or did they realize that the criminal matter wouldn't actually go anywhere, and that a judge would not take it seriously? I don't know, but I suspect the latter.

    So, here's the question: if the cops didn't hammer him, and the RECBC didn't hammer him, why not?

    Is it because the cops and the council don't take this sort of thing seriously?

    Or is it because the punishment has to fit the crime, and we've established an environment where all crimes (forgery through car theft through murder) are treated lightly?

  18. > Rob

    I feel we have to separate actual crime charge and professional ethics here.

    If securities broker tell client this particular stock will go up in value, not by opinoin, but if said, guaranteed type of conversation, it is not "crime", police won't involved, but apprently not ethical.
    Without monetal damage, if brought up to authority (securities commission), he will likely be suspended or under close supervision for months.

    Same, forging documents are serious offence in his opccupation.
    He is doing agency business, dealing with papers which involved hundreds of thousands of dollars. And tens of thousand dollars interest to him.
    I don't pay too much attention why police won't get involved.
    But I do care why RECBC did involved, but take it so lightly (so far, I can tell for many's eyes).

  19. According to the criminal code of Canada, this is a crime. I would like to hear the reason the police would not pursue it? If this a First Nations man working in a lower level position, I'm sure they would. The law should NOT discriminate! And this reeks of it due to the person involved.

    This is an INDICTABLE offense, not just a summary. My guess this is why the police didn't want to follow it up - they knew it was serious and didn't want to get this "good guy" into so much trouble. How is THIS not black and white...read it for yourself:

    362. (1) Every one commits an offence who

    (a) by a false pretence, whether directly or through the medium of a contract obtained by a false pretence, obtains anything in respect of which the offence of theft may be committed or causes it to be delivered to another person;

    (b) obtains credit by a false pretence or by fraud;

    (c) knowingly makes or causes to be made, directly or indirectly, a false statement in writing with intent that it should be relied on, with respect to the financial condition or means or ability to pay of himself or herself or any person or organization that he or she is interested in or that he or she acts for, for the purpose of procuring, in any form whatever, whether for his or her benefit or the benefit of that person or organization,

    (i) the delivery of personal property,

    (ii) the payment of money,

    (iii) the making of a loan,

    (iv) the grant or extension of credit,

    (v) the discount of an account receivable, or

    (vi) the making, accepting, discounting or endorsing of a bill of exchange, cheque, draft or promissory note; or

    (d) knowing that a false statement in writing has been made with respect to the financial condition or means or ability to pay of himself or herself or another person or organization that he or she is interested in or that he or she acts for, procures on the faith of that statement, whether for his or her benefit or for the benefit of that person or organization, anything mentioned in subparagraphs (c)(i) to (vi).

    1. Ageed.

      It sounds somehow, got tricky.
      Police declined to get invloved, but doesn't mean it is not subject to criminal offence.
      They just dont't bother (worse, maybe).

      Again, forging contract documents is serious offence, don't know it will touch federal, or provincial, or municipal laws, or against industries laws, it should not be take it lightly.

  20. Great post. It is a corruption of the Rule of Law if the laws are selectively enforced (or not enforced). The "no harm done" argument is specious. It's like saying if I discharged a firearm at someone but missed, I should not be prosecuted because of no harm done.

  21. Anonymous:

    Is you ignore the criminal aspect and look strictly at the ethical aspect it's all over. There is nothing ethical about this, and in fact it breaches several explicit ethical rules (let alone what we might call "unwritten" ethics). No question. I couldn't play Devil's Advocate on the ethical portion of this if you put a gun to my head.

    I'm going to speculate a bit over on my own blog, and Trish, the lady who helps me get stats posted, has uncovered some interesting info that she will likely post later. Between the CTV reports and what you can find online there are a few inconsistencies (not with the buyer or CTV).

  22. Hopefully you all learned that crime pays in the white collar world. Police are already far too busy chasing other bad guys to go after folks who should know better squabbling over money. There is not much in the way of a financial forensics division anyway and even those guys are too busy with political shenanigans, stock and bank fraud and other miscellaneous cheaters who have garnered the attention of the general public or angered the powers that be. All the little fish just go through the net. Maybe someone can explain why divorce and the multitude of financial crimes that happen between angry couples are virtually always dealt with by a judge alone without the police getting involved. You get the point. When it is money between people of means the cops just let them all sort it out with the expertise of lawyers while they stick to the real business of violence, money laundering, counterfits, terrorism, drugs, organized crime, store theft and prostitution. A realtor fudging the books is just a pain in the ass for them so authority is ceded to the regulatory body. Police have very limited resources and these kinds of commercial fraud have never been high on their list of priorities.


  23. Has no one aside from me had the pleasure of needing the help of Canada's criminal justice system? There are no happy ending for victims. Only rulers for slapping wrists and a well-worn revolving door.