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WA man prosecuted after ‘gravely’ dishonest real estate act

By Tim Neary
15 February 2019 | 9 minute read
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WA’s Commissioner for Consumer Protection says the prosecution of a man who acted dishonestly should act as a warning about the importance of honesty in the real estate industry.

The man, who is not named because a spent conviction was granted, forged a signature on an application to renew a real estate agent representative’s registration.

The man was fined $4,000 and ordered to pay costs of $1,195.10 for providing false information to Consumer Protection, at the Perth Magistrates Court earlier this month.

In August 2017, the man lodged an application to renew a representative registration, but in the “declaration by employer”, attributed to his uncle, who is a licensed real estate agent, the signature was faked.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the signature forgery was an act of “grave dishonesty” and legal action was the only way to respond.

“The accused was trying to gain access to a profession where honesty is paramount because buying a house is the biggest purchase most people make in their lifetime,” he said.

“WA’s real estate industry is important to the state and the licensing system administered by Consumer Protection ensures only suitably qualified people are allowed to operate within it.

“We take any attempt to subvert our processes extremely seriously, and I hope our prosecution in response to this fraudulent application serves as a deterrent and sends a strong message to anyone contemplating acting in the same way.”

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Under WA’s Real Estate and Business Agents Act, putting false and misleading information on an application can result in a criminal conviction and a maximum financial penalty of $20,000.

“A large number of licensed agents and sales representatives in WA do follow the correct processes and abide by the law,” Mr Hillyard said.

“Weeding out those who are unscrupulous helps to maintain the reputation of the industry in general. Consumer Protection will not tolerate deceit from anyone applying to hold a real estate agent’s licence or renew a registration as a sales representative, as was the case with this matter.”

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