A Western Australia real estate agent had to dig deep into his pockets to cover a fine for failing to cooperate with an audit.
The former director of O’Farrell Property, Gregory O’Farrell, was fined $500 and ordered to pay costs of $553.90 by the Mandurah Magistrates Court for not cooperating with a request from the auditor during the termination audit of his previous business.
Mr O’Farrell terminated his business in June 2017 after he did not renew his company’s triennial certificate. As a result, a termination audit of the accounts needed to be submitted to Consumer Protection to comply with the Real Estate and Business Agents Act.
He assigned an auditor to the work in early 2018, and they also had to do the 2016 audit since it had not been completed. But the review was unable to be completed since Mr O’Farrell failed to provide all the requested information.
“Even if a real estate agent shuts up shop, they are obliged to ensure all their yearly audits are up to date and provide whatever information or documents that are required to complete those audits,” Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said.
“By failing to do so, Mr O’Farrell has made it difficult for the department to determine whether the funds being held in trust for clients were properly managed and the money properly dispersed when the agency closed down.
“The annual audits are important safeguards for consumers, so agents need to ensure that the reports are submitted within the required time so they can be checked for compliance.”