A former real estate agent who allegedly falsified records and misused more than $17,000 in trust account funds is facing the risk of being banned from the real estate industry.
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) is taking action against Shane Hooley of Ravenswood under the Estate Agents Act 1980.
Between February and July 2019, it is alleged Mr Hooley falsified client account records and transferred more than $17,000 in trust account funds into his personal bank account.
When his employer identified the discrepancy in funds, it conducted an internal investigation before contacting CAV. The trust account funds were restored using the agency’s company operating account.
By law, agents must deposit any money received in advance from a client in a trust account. Trust accounts ensure client money is protected and managing trust accounts is a core professional obligation for estate agents.
Consumer Affairs Director Nicole Rich said it’s important for agents to take their trust obligations seriously.
`We will continue to focus on ensuring agents manage their trust accounts as a priority. If agents fail to meet their responsibilities, or misuse trust funds, we will take action,’ she said.
CAV has commenced disciplinary proceedings against Mr Hooley in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). Possible outcomes include a ban and penalties of up to $5,000. The matter is listed for a compulsory conference at VCAT on 6 June 2023.