Cronulla real estate agent disqualified
Fair Trading Deputy Commissioner Steve Griffin said that a Cronulla real estate agent has been banned from the industry for three years for mishandling trust account monies.
Mr Griffin said Bexahead Pty Ltd (trading as Anthony Malouf Shire Properties) and the company’s director and licensee, Anthony Norman Malouf, are disqualified from any involvement in the direction, management or conduct of any real estate business.
“Fair Trading has taken this action following a complaint from a vendor regarding the agent’s failure to handle monies held in trust in accordance with the law,” he said.
“Investigations revealed that the sales commissions from a number of properties had been withdrawn from trust accounts prior to settlement and without the authority of the parties involved.
“The agent was pre-drawing on sales deposits, depositing them into his personal bank account to earn interest and later transferring the interest into the agency’s general account.”
Mr Griffin said Fair Trading has a zero tolerance when it comes to trust account offences.
“Over the past 12 months Fair Trading has prosecuted two agents for misappropriating monies from clients’ trust funds,” he said.
Navid Azzati of Fairfield received a seven months suspended sentence and was ordered to pay the Property Services Compensation Fund $58,855.
Phillip Chau of Kogarah was gaoled for 18 months (with a non parole period of 12 months) and ordered to pay the Property Services Compensation Fund $123,830.
Mr Griffin said licensees are required by law to hold clients’ funds in a trust account kept at an authorised deposit-taking institution in New South Wales.
“These rules exist to ensure consumers’ money is handled appropriately,” he said.
“Consumers expect their dealings with businesses to be conducted in an ethical and professional manner and Fair Trading will work tirelessly to protect their interests.”
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