A West Vancouver real estate agent found guilty of professional misconduct for pressuring a seller into giving him a $75,000 bonus has lost his real estate licence for another four years following an appeal.
A decision by B.C.’s Financial Services Tribunal has upheld a five-year suspension against real estate agent Shahin Behroyan handed down in 2020.
Behroyan said in an emailed statement he intends to ask for a judicial review of the decision by the courts.
The decision is the latest in a long-running drama in connection with the sale of a $2.7-million home on West Vancouver’s Kings Avenue in November of 2014.
Behroyan originally received a one-year suspension in 2018 after the B.C. Real Estate Council found him guilty of professional misconduct.
The penalty was increased to a five-year suspension after both Behroyan and the Real Estate Council appealed the decision and a second disciplinary panel weighed in.
The cancellation of Behroyan's licence was temporarily suspended, after Behroyan launched another appeal. The suspension was reinstated in September of 2020.
According to details of the case set out in the decision by a Real Estate Council disciplinary panel, Behroyan was found guilty of professional misconduct for defrauding his own clients by telling them falsely that the buyer's agent would not present a full-price offer for their property unless they agreed to pay a $100,000 bonus.
Behroyan told the sellers "this was how properties with problems were sold," according to the decision.
The sellers eventually paid a $75,000 bonus, essentially doubling Behroyan’s commission on the sale.
Behroyan "deceived his own client to obtain a substantial financial benefit for himself, at his client's expense. In other words, he defrauded his client," according to the decision.
In the appeal, Behroyan, through his lawyer, asked for a much lower penalty, arguing that a reprimand should suffice - or at the most a one-month suspension of his licence.
The real estate council didn't agree, arguing Behroyan's willingness 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."
The second disciplinary panel agreed, and imposed the longer five-year suspension, stating Behroyan’s actions undermine public confidence in the entire real estate industry.
In the most recent appeal, Behroyan asked that a panel of the Financial Services Tribunal set aside that penalty as “arbitrary and unreasonable” as well as “disproportionately harsh.”
In increasing the penalty, the second disciplinary panel had exceeded its authority, Behroyan argued through his lawyer.
But Michael Tourigny, panel chair of the Financial Services Tribunal, didn’t agree, finding in his decision that the five-year suspension was justified as reasonable based on Behroyan’s misconduct.
The B.C. Financial Services Authority website, which merged with the B.C. Real Estate Council in August, no longer lists Behroyan as a licensed real estate agent.
Behroyan said in an email his request for a judicial review to the courts will be filed later this month.