A former estate agent has been placed on a two-year good behaviour bond, after pleading guilty to 23 charges of obtaining property by deception.
Between February and June 2016, Stephanie Joyce Brown, 43, forged fraudulent bond claim forms, including the signatures of relevant tenants, and directed payments of more than $33,000 to her own bank accounts. The Residential Tenancies Bond Authority became aware of this through its monitoring program. Victoria Police then took action against Ms Brown under the Crimes Act 1958.
Consumer Affairs Victoria advised the Business Licensing Authority (BLA) of Ms Brown’s conviction, and her estate agent's licence was cancelled by operation of law. Under Victoria’s estate agent laws, certain offences that carry possible jail terms of three months or more disqualify a person from working as an estate agent. Fraud is a disqualifying offence.
A person who has been convicted of a disqualifying offence within the past 10 years must inform the BLA of that conviction, but may apply to the BLA for permission to continue working as an estate agent or an agent’s representative. The BLA will review the request and make a decision.
Ms Brown did not notify the BLA of her conviction, nor did she seek permission to keep working as an estate agent.
Estate agents can find out more on our Disqualifications and permissions – estate agents page.