A Sydney agent has narrowly avoided a two-year jail sentence for misusing a $15,000 deposit for a Bexley North property.
John Photi, aka John Nicholas Photis and John Nicholas Fotis, has been ordered to pay $14,262 in fines, costs and compensation and has been disqualified from holding a real estate licence until 2018.
Fair Trading commissioner Rod Stowe said the Enfield agent had avoided a custodial sentence due to his status as a disabled pensioner.
“He has undertaken to pay his victims $2,000 compensation, in addition to the $15,000 they have already received,” he said.
The victims, a Brisbane couple, had been looking to purchase a Sydney property and had contacted Mr Photi in April 2009.
Although the couple had expressed interest to buy another property listed through another real estate agent, Mr Photi had told them the vendor had accepted their pre-auction offer.
He assured them he had secured finance for their home loan. No conjunction agreement was in place between Mr Photi and the real estate agent acting on the vendor’s behalf and as a result, Mr Photi had no authority to sell the property.
On 23 June 2009, at Mr Photi’s request, the couple gave him a $15,000 bank cheque as a holding deposit.
Mr Photi subsequently 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,” Mr 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.”
Real Estate Business were unable to contact Mr Photi.