Agent punished for trust account violations

A Melbourne real estate agent has been fined after the regulator launched its second court action against him in five years.

Consumer Affairs Victoria said that Glenn Michael Ryan, 69, has been fined $2,000 for failing to have his trust account audited in time.

Mr Ryan, who is based in Frankston, was also ordered to pay $1,100 in costs, following a hearing at the Frankston Magistrates’ Court.

Consumer Affairs issued Mr Ryan with an infringement notice after he failed to have his trust accounts audited within three months of the 2013-14 financial year, as required under the Estate Agents Act 1980. The audit was done seven months late, the regulator said.

Mr Ryan told REB that he had been “very badly done by” because the authorities “accused me of breaking a regulation I didn’t break”.

“Under the regulation, I have to employ a qualified auditor to do the audit within time, and that’s what I did – and I’ve got emails that say that,” he said.

“The trouble is, I arranged it with an auditor who was totally inexperienced, had no idea what he was doing and didn’t seem to have very much interest in actually complying with the regulations.”

Mr Ryan claimed he “would’ve been well and truly on time” with his audit, but that the auditor had failed to show up to his office to do the job.

This is the second time in five years that Mr Ryan has fallen foul of the regulator.

In 2011, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ordered Mr Ryan and Glenn Ryan Real Estate to establish better trust account procedures.

Consumer Affairs made several allegations at the tribunal, including that Mr Ryan had fallen behind on his trust account duties.

Mr Ryan said there were similarities between the two cases.

“That [the 2011 case] had to do with the same type of thing. I had problems getting an auditor then, too,” he said.

“I was exonerated. I got no fine. The only thing I had to do in the end was get my books audited every six months for two years.”

[Related: ‘High-risk agents’ under investigation]

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