Prosecution a warning to real estate industry
WA’s Commissioner for Consumer Protection says the prosecution of man, who forged a signature on an application to renew a real estate agent sales representative’s registration, should act as a warning about the importance of honesty in the industry.
At Perth Magistrates Court on 8 February 2019, the Accused – who is not named because a spent conviction was granted – was fined $4,000 and ordered to pay costs of $1,195.10 for providing false information to Consumer Protection.
In August 2017, the Accused lodged an application to renew a sales representative registration, but in the ‘declaration by employer’, attributed to his uncle, who is a licensed real estate agent, the signature was faked.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the signature forgery was an act of grave dishonesty and legal action was the only way to respond.
“The Accused was trying to gain access to a profession where honesty is paramount because buying a house is the biggest purchase most people make in their lifetime,” he said.
“WA’s real estate industry is important to the State and the licensing system administered by Consumer Protection ensures only suitably qualified people are allowed to operate within it.
“We take any attempt to subvert our processes extremely seriously and I hope our prosecution in response to this fraudulent application serves as a deterrent and sends a strong message to anyone contemplating acting in the same way.”
A sales representative can only renew their registration with Consumer Protection if they are employed by the holder of a real estate agent’s licence or a registered developer.
Under WA’s Real Estate and Business Agents Act, putting false and misleading information on an application can result in a criminal conviction and a maximum financial penalty of $20,000.
The Commissioner is reminding real estate industry professionals to be candid, frank and honest.
“A large number of licensed agents and sales representatives in WA do follow the correct processes and abide by the law,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Weeding out those who are unscrupulous helps to maintain the reputation of the industry in general. Consumer Protection will not tolerate deceit from anyone applying to hold a real estate agent’s licence or renew a registration as a sales representative, as was the case with this matter.”
Information about licensing and registration of real estate industry professionals in WA is available on the Consumer Protection website at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumer-protection/licensing-and-registration-real-estate
Background information: The Court’s decision to order a spent conviction, preventing the naming of the Accused, was due to previous good character (no criminal record) and its view that the man is unlikely to commit such an offence again.
Media Contact: Sarah Roberts, 0466 409 828, firstname.lastname@example.org
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