A DIANELLA real estate agent has been disqualified for ten years after fooling clients into transferring $21,000 of payments to his personal bank account.
Matthew Piero Liscia was fined $2000 for two breaches of the real estate industry Codes of Conduct and was ordered to pay $1000 in legal costs by the State Administrative Tribunal.
He has been disqualified from holding a certificate of registration for ten years, backdated to begin from November 2017, when his employment was terminated.
Mr Liscia was working for a Perth city commercial real estate agency when he sought to charge a religious group $4000 to view a Carlisle property in August 2016.
The group agreed to pay $1000 to view the property and deposited the amount to Mr Liscia’s personal bank account.
To charge for an “open day” is a serious breach, including imposing any charges not authorised by the property owners as outlined in the Selling Agency Agreement.
Mr Liscia also demanded a food distribution company to pay him $20,000 of the $43,000 deposit when the company was interested in leasing a Carlisle warehouse in September 2017.
The food distribution company refused to pay the $23,000 balance of the deposit when Mr Liscia falsely represented that their offer would lapse if they didn’t deposit the rest.
The company’s directors contacted other staff at the agency who identified a misappropriation had occurred.
Mr Liscia was immediately dismissed for serious misconduct and transferred the $20,000 deposit from his personal bank account to the agency’s trust account on the same day.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said the two deals were cloaked in deception and illegality and Mr Liscia took advantage of his clients’ lack of knowledge.
“Mr Liscia’s actions showed ignorance and disregard towards the strict conduct requirements for people working in the real estate industry,” she said.
“The open day charge was illegal in itself and the warehouse lease deposit – as with all deposits – must be paid into the agency’s trust account for safe keeping, which only happened once the deception was uncovered.
“This is exactly this type of deceptive and illegal behaviour that the licensing system is designed to deal with and it was only a matter of time before the misconduct was discovered.”
Ms Lipscombe said in this case, the ten year ban was appropriate for the level of illegal behaviour.
“We hope it acts as a deterrent to others in the industry who might contemplate deviating from the laws that regulate the real estate industry in WA,” she said.
More information on the obligations of real estate agents and sales representatives is available on the Consumer Protection website or enquiries can be made by email email@example.com or by calling 1300 30 40 54.