Real estate agent is in hot water
28 Aug 2012
Former Docklands real estate agent Ali Abbas will appear before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on October 26 over nearly $100,000 worth of trust fund irregularities.
According to a Consumer Affairs spokesperson, Mr Abbas (pictured above) faces allegations relating to failing to keep full and accurate records of trust monies.
The Consumer Affairs investigation into Mr Abbas and his agency Worldwide Scope Pty Ltd, which operated as a Century 21 franchise, started last November.
Century 21 head office notified Consumer Affairs after receiving multiple complaints against the agent.
It was alleged at the time that Mr Abbas received bonds in cash from multiple tenants, however did not lodge the money with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority.
It was also alleged that rents were paid in cash and were not passed on to landlords.
As a result of the investigation, the Minister for Consumer Affairs froze Mr Abbas’s agency trust account and appointed a manager to run the business.
Mr Abbas’s real estate licence was suspended.
Since appointing a manager to the business, Consumer Affairs has received 28 claims to the Victorian Property Fund regarding unpaid rental monies and missing residential tenancy bonds.
Claims to the fund total more than $99,000.
The Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria also requested that a formal inquiry into the business practices of the agency be conducted.
The inquiry, to be dealt with at VCAT next month, was issued under Section 25 of the Real Estate Agents Act.
The Act outlines circumstances, which would warrant an inquiry into an estate agent’s conduct.
Docklands News understands that the VCAT inquiry will establish if Mr Abbas’s real estate licence should be cancelled and that, if so, he may face criminal charges.
“A deficiency or wrong conversion in a trust account are serious criminal offences,” a Consumer Affairs spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said Consumer Affairs Victoria had successfully prosecuted similar matters through the courts in the past and had also referred cases to Victoria Police.
Docklands News was unable to contact Mr Abbas about the allegations which have been made against him.
Mr Abbas operated a Century 21 franchise from 831 Bourke St in Docklands for more than two years.
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