Local news

Real estate broker scam

Château Périgord
Château Périgord. Source: www.chambre-immo.monte-carlo.mc

Another Monaco criminal news report by Olga Taran, HelloMonaco.com’s editor in chief.

As part of the sale of a four-room apartment, a real estate broker deposited in her personal account the totality of agency fees. This breach of confidence, for the Court of Appeal, she was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment with suspended sentence and ordered to pay 15,000 euros to the civil party, the employee of a real estate agency in Monte Carlo, reduced by the Court of Appeal.

After considering the dispute, the judgment reduced the penalty to a fine of 15,000 euros and a sum of 5,000 euros for the company Elite International. In this case of breach of trust, the public prosecutor’s office had twice asked for a dismissal. In this case, this fifty-something-year-old Monegasque wife of a very high-ranking official oversaw the sale of a four-room apartment at “Château Périgord” in the spring of 2013. Of the amount of the transaction, she noticed the agency commission. The broker asks the purchaser to deposit the fees in her name. And she deposited the entire sum, i.e. 156,676 euros, in her personal bank account “to preserve her rights to her portion of the fees,” she said before Judge Eric Senna.

“Why did you do that? You were not entitled to all of it. What were you afraid of in order to take everything into account?”asked the magistrate. “I never wanted to rob or harm anyone,” the intermediary replied. “But at that time, the accounts were blocked with the death of the owner and I was afraid of not being paid. I had no information…” Lies? Truth? “But these fees were due to the agency that then pays you a commission. Is not it abnormal?” the Judge asked. “Not at all. I paid my employer’s quota,” according to the attorney. For the civil party, Jean Pierre Licari evoked “a series of lies. This person had no reason to cash the deposit cheque in her personal account. My client noticed the scam when it was necessary to pay VAT… And let’s be serious: who would give 80% of the sum to an employee? It’s ruinous! It’s just enough to pay the taxes. Usually it’s 20% for the broker, 80% for the agency. In this case, the opposite is true. Fraudulent intent exists. Make her pay the full amount claimed.”

However, for Attorney General Jacques Dorémieux, “there is no material basis to justify an offense. It is not for that lady to provide the evidence, but for the complaining party. The Crown is not blind. Doubt must benefit the commissionaire. There must be leniency!” The defence lawyers stated their belief “in the pacifying force of law. Let us apply the law and it is impossible for our client to have committed an abuse of trust. The 80% distribution for Madame and 20% for the agency is fair. It corresponds to the work done and the internal agreement dates back to the 1990s. There is no evidence to support the contention of the complainant’s counsel. And no economic damage suffered by the SARL.” The lawyer then described the accused as “an honest, reserved woman who was raised by a trustworthy civil servant father. She is incapable of committing an offense.” The Court of Appeal would decide otherwise.

Originally published by Olga Taran at HelloMonaco.com

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