WA agent reprimanded over trust account transfer

WA agent reprimanded over trust account transfer
WA agent reprimanded over trust account transfer

Ian Hugh Sargent, trading as WA Prestige Properties in Subiaco, has been reprimanded by the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) for transferring $75,000 from his agency's trust account into its operating account in May 2012.

On the same day, $71,312 was withdrawn from the agency's operating account to pay a debt to the Australian Taxation Office.
The funds used included $50,000 that was paid to the agency as a deposit relating to a property purchase that was the equivalent to the commission owing to the agent, however the sale didn't go ahead and the offer was withdrawn.

The SAT found that the agency had contravened the Real Estate and Business Agents Act by receiving a commission prior to settlement of the property, making an unauthorised withdrawal from their trust account and paying trust account funds to a person not lawfully entitled to receive them.

The tribunal took into consideration that the withdrawal was an 'isolated event' and the agent had not previously been subject to any disciplinary proceedings.

Acting commissioner for Consumer Protection, David Hillyard said this was a serious breach of the law with serious consequences for the agent and his business.

“Real estate agents who illegally pay commissions to themselves prior to settlement are playing with fire as these sales can often fall through,” Mr Hillyard said.

The nine-month suspension begins June 2016.

 

Tags: 
Western Australia Property Law

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