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Forging documents for personal gain (no Chi Case)

Trades / Industries:

Vincent, an estate agent of an agency, facilitated the sale of Mr Leung’s flat to Mrs Pong at a price of $34 million. In line with regular practice, both buyer and seller had to pay 1% of the purchase price as commission to the agency. After the transaction was completed, Vincent showed an agreement and a fax to Mr Leung and Mrs Pong. The agreement indicated that the transaction had been carried out through two estate agencies, Vincent’s agency and Agency B. The fax was issued by Vincent’s agency and indicated that Agency B would collect the commission on its behalf. As the agreement and fax bore the signatures of the persons responsible in both estate agencies as well as company chops, Mr Leung and Mrs Pong paid the commission accordingly. In fact, Vincent had forged the agreement and fax document with a view to embezzling his employer’s commission using Agency B’s account. Agency B was later to return 80% of the commission it received to Vincent. Meanwhile, Vincent told his employer that another estate agency had beaten him to the transaction. Vincent’s agency made a report to the ICAC after suspecting that Vincent had been bribed to refer business to another estate agency.

Case Analysis

Vincent felt that, as he alone had facilitated the transaction, he alone should enjoy the commission. However, he had forgotten that, as long as he was an employee of his agency, he had a responsibility to protect his employer’s interests, one he should not ignore in light of personal interests.  


Vincent might commit an offence of fraud under Section 16A of the Theft Ordinance for conspiring with another estate agency to embezzle commission for personal gain. He not only seriously harmed his employer’s interests, but also betrayed his company’s trust in him.


Vincent facilitated the transaction between Mr Leung and Mrs Pong as an employee of his agency. If Vincent had an intent during the commission-swindling process to  use false documents to mislead his employer or conceal the transaction, he might have breached Section 9(3) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and would be liable for a maximum penalty of 7 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $500,000.  


Vincent would also breach the Code of Ethics promulgated by the Estate Agents Authority for engaging in illegal activities and bringing discredit and/or disrepute to the estate agency trade. His failure to observe and comply with the law and the Code of Ethics might render him not being a fit and proper person under the Estate Agents Ordinance to hold license and disciplinary action might be taken against him.

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