Sydney agent fined for $15K fraud

A Sydney real estate agent who stole a $15,000 deposit has been fined and been banned from practising until 2018 but has avoided a jail sentence.

The Downing Centre Court found Enfield agent John Photi fraudulently misappropriated a deposit on a house he did not have the authority to sell.

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said the agent, also known as John Nicolas Photis and John Nicholas Fotis was lucky to avoid a two year jail sentence.

“Although Mr Photi’s actions were egregious, his status as a disabled pensioner has been taken into account and he has undertaken to pay his victims $2,000 compensation, in addition to the $15,000 they have already received,” Stowe said.

A couple from Brisbane had approached Photi about a property in Bexley North in April 2009.

Although the listing was actually controlled by another agent Photi told the couple the vendors had accepted their pre-auction offer and that he had arranged finance for the purchase.

He requested and received a $15,000 bank cheque as a holding deposit.

Photi then transferred that money out of his company’s trust account and used it for his own purposes.

“As a result of this matter, Fair Trading took disciplinary action against Mr Photi and on 30 November 2011 he was disqualified from holding a Real Estate Agent Licence for seven years,” Stowe said.

“In addition Mr Photi is banned from being involved in the direction, management and conduct of the business of a licensee for seven years.”

Photi has been ordered to pay $14,262 in fines, costs and compensation.

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

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