A former real estate agent has been banned from holding a real estate licence for eight years due to his part in major trust account fraud.
Afif Shaba authorised his business, Northern Real Estate Pty Ltd, to fraudulently use $50,000 of trust account money that had been received between January and November 2012 for its own purposes, found the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
VCAT found Mr Shaba guilty of conduct that made him unfit to hold a licence.
Mr Shaba was the sole director and officer in effective control.
The funds used were tenants’ rent that was owing to the investors, and it was found he breached the Estate Agents Act 1980 by knowingly authorising the business not to retain the funds.
He had withdrawn the trust money to pay business expenses in March 2012.
This was due to a downturn leaving him in financial difficulty, Mr Shaba admitted to Consumer Affairs Victoria inspectors.
At one point it was noted there was a $50,000 deficiency in the trust fund, reduced to $15,000 when he was inspected in November 2012.
Mr Shaba looked to pay back the missing funds, have his accounts audited, sell the business and stop operating as a real estate agent.
His agency’s licence was cancelled in March 2013.
He will be eligible for a licence after 9 July 2022.