Three men have been charged over a property fraud in Western Australia that saw them allegedly steal over $6 million.
The Major Fraud Squad has reported that a 70 year-old York man and a 43 year-old south Perth man have each been arrested for six counts of causing detriment to a person by fraud. Another 45 year-old York man has also been charged with four counts.
The charges relate to the sale of six rural WA properties located in the mid-west region between 2008 and 2011.
Police said the true offer from international investors was not provided to the seller.
A shelf company was established and was used to purchase the property at a lesser value, with excess profits funnelled through a series of shelf companies.
The total value of funds fraudulently obtained was approximately $6.3 million, with the properties sold worth more than $17 million.
The three men will appear in the Perth Magistrates Court at the end of this month.
Detective Senior Sergeant Dom Blackshaw of the Major Fraud Squad told Real Estate Business the case showed how important it is for buyers and sellers to scrutinise the actions of their agents.
“People need to know exactly what agents are doing when they’re selling their properties because [in this case] there was effectively a commission being pulled out that the agents weren’t entitled to because they were buying and selling property to two separate people and then taking the profit from the middle,” he said.
Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) deputy president Hayden Groves revealed the agency the men belonged to were former members of the institute.
"If what has transpired proves to be correct and they're convicted of the offences ... we'd be happy to see them prosecuted to the full extent of the law," Mr Groves said.