A PERTH real estate agent who forged signatures on fake contracts to pocket $30,000 has been banned from working in the industry for 15 years.
Joseph Weng Kong Cheong and his company Easy Invest Pty Ltd had their licences cancelled on Thursday by the State Administrative Tribunal after he was found to have acted unfairly and dishonestly in the sale of two properties.
Consumer Protection brought the case against Mr Cheong, who drafted legitimate contracts for the East Victoria Park and East Perth properties in August 2015, which gave him 2.2 per cent commission.
The two property owners were unaware that Mr Cheong then drafted fake agreements upping the commission to 3.2 per cent, and forged their signatures on the contacts.
A few months later he drew up ‘offer and acceptance’ contracts using buyer names randomly picked from the phone book, forging their signatures so it appeared they agreed to buy the properties.
He used these fake contracts to apply for an advance of the 3.2 per cent commission and was paid just over $30,000 from a finance company.
Mr Cheong has since repaid the finance company, and the SAT noted the property owners did not lose money despite his deception.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said it was a case of serious dishonesty and Mr Cheong’s 15-year ban was more than justified.
“I expect agents will uphold their fiduciary duty and always place the interests of their sellers above their own,” he said.