Agents facing jail if guilty – LJ Hooker speaks 

LJ Hooker has weighed in on news that two of its franchisees are facing court over their alleged involvement in a scandal that is said to have cost home owners and tenants millions of dollars. 

An LJ Hooker spokesperson says the group is pleased that Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) has concluded its investigations and is now able to bring the matter before the courts.

“This will give all those affected some closure,” the spokesperson said in a statement to REB.

“From the outset, LJ Hooker has worked closely with CAV to ensure the circumstances and the consumer interests were properly brought to light.”

The spokesperson said LJ Hooker terminated the franchise agreements of the independently owned franchise businesses when it became aware of the alleged breaches.

The spokesperson said the franchise businesses had acted outside LJ Hooker policies.

“These sorts of occurrences are a blight on the industry and continued vigilance is of the utmost importance to LJ Hooker and our franchisees.

“LJ Hooker will continue to work with CAV and appropriate authorities where needed.”

Since the closure of the Glen Waverley and associated offices, LJ Hooker has rolled out a training program regarding trust account management in a bid to further improve its standards.

“As part of this program, LJ Hooker deepened its trust accounting and compliance training programs and set up an email hotline for its people to confidentially report any concerns around an office’s trust account,” the spokesperson said.

REB reported on Monday that CAV commenced criminal proceedings against Truc Thanh Le (Judy) Nguyen and Tri Duc (Joseph) Ngo.

The pair were allegedly embroiled in a scandal that shook Melbourne’s eastern and south-eastern suburbs last year, and left home owners and tenants millions of dollars out of pocket.

At the time, Ms Nguyen was principal of LJ Hooker franchises in Glen Waverley, Keysborough, Mount Waverley, Burwood, Doncaster and Box Hill. Mr Ngo was an employee agent in the same offices.

Ms Nguyen has been charged with 216 offences and Mr Ngo has been charged with 188 offences for alleged breaches of the Estate Agents Act 1980.

If found guilty, the pair could face imprisonment of up to 12 years, be fined or both.

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