Luxury real estate agent loses licence for 5 years after claim he pressured seller for $75K bonus
Decision will be stayed while Shahin Behroyan appeals case to B.C.'s Finance Services Tribunal
The Real Estate Council of B.C. has ordered a five-year licence cancellation for a West Vancouver man who claims to be one of the top five real estate agents in the world.
In the latest chapter of a saga that dates back to 2014, the regulator claims Shahin Behroyan attempted to defraud a client by pressuring the man to give him a $75,000 bonus in connection with the sale of a $2.7 million home.
Behroyan — a specialist in luxury properties — has already appealed the decision to B.C.'s Financial Services Tribunal, which acts as a higher court in the process of real estate discipline, meaning the penalty is automatically stayed for the time being.
It's the second time the tribunal will have considered an appeal related to the case. Behroyan fought a much lighter penalty from the council — a one-year suspension — in relation to the same allegations in 2018.
As a result of that process, the case was handed back to the real estate council's disciplinary committee for reconsideration.
This time, they said the behaviour warranted much harsher punishment.
"The fraud was predatory conduct of a serious nature," the decision says.
"A willingness of the licensee to defraud a client signals an issue concerning good character and suitability that represents a threat to the public, and a threat to public confidence in the real estate industry."
'Too little ... too late'
According to the disciplinary decision and the financial services tribunal's description of the case, Behroyan convinced the seller of the West Vancouver home that the people who were interested in buying the property wanted a bonus to be part of the deal.
Behroyan's client claimed he later found out that the real estate agent had previously helped the purchasers to sell their home and that the agent who represented them in their latest transaction had agreed to split her commission with Behroyan.
Behroyan denied all of the allegations.
At his first disciplinary hearing, Behroyan was found to have committed five counts of misconduct and in addition to a one-year licence suspension, he was fined $7,500 and ordered to pay enforcement costs of nearly $60,000.
But both the agent and the superintendent of real estate appealed that decision.
On appeal, the Financial Services Tribunal threw out two of the five charges and ordered a new "reconsideration" of sanctions, which happened in February.
As part of those proceedings, Behroyan attempted to submit a new affidavit, which the real estate council refused to consider, in part because he had a chance to testify at the first hearing and refused to do so.
Regardless, the disciplinary committee said Behroyan's claims of regret and remorse — as contained in the new affidavit — amounted to "too little ... too late."
A 'youthful offender'
According to his website, Behroyan is consistently ranked in the top one per cent of Greater Vancouver real estate agents. His biography doesn't elaborate on his claim to be one of the world's top agents.
His lawyer claimed Behroyan was a "youthful offender" at the time of the transaction, having been only five years in the business.
But the committee said it wasn't as if the offence involved some type of technical misunderstanding that required experience to appreciate.
"Even a new licensee would know he must act honestly and with good faith," the committee said.
According to the decision, Behroyan also argued that the seller was "effectively overcharged" and that the issue of the bonus didn't put the public at any risk.
But the committee disagreed.
They also pointed out that the seller went to B.C. Supreme Court to get his money back and that Behroyan claimed in that proceeding that the complaint was fabricated.
The real estate council said he couldn't be faulted for defending himself, but that his defence undercut the real estate agent's claims to remorse.
Behroyan argued that he should receive a reprimand and — at most — a one-month suspension.
But the committee said cancellation of his licence was necessary to sufficiently denounce the fraud.
In addition to the five-year prohibition, Behroyan was also ordered to pay $50,000 in enforcement costs.
He appealed the decision last month. He did not return calls for comment.