Punishing A Queensland Rogue

Neil Jenman - Don't Sign AnythingOPINION
by Neil Jenman
Consumer Advocate

Lindsay Stringer – the most unsuccessful rogue?

An article from the Jenman website.

In Queensland, where rogue agents roam, Lindsay Stringer must be the most unsuccessful of all the rogues. If not, he’s certainly the unluckiest when compared with other agents.

Last Friday (April 28, 2006), the Queensland Office of Fair Trading announced that Stringer (who formerly traded as The Professionals Shailer Park) had set up a scam in which sellers and buyers were charged higher amounts than the actual costs of expenses. For instance, pest inspections were loaded in price, as were advertising expenses.

Yep, Lindsay added a bit on for himself.

How much is “a bit”? Well, in total, Lindsay’s rip-off scheme – which took place between October 2001 and October 2002 – netted him $3,500.

When he was caught, Lindsay (who doesn’t seem the smartest of rogues) made a muddling attempt to cover-up his crime. But he was no match for the investigative skills of the Queensland Office of Fair Trading who uncovered his deeds and hauled him before the Magistrates Court.

That was back in June 2004 and the hapless Mr Stringer was fined $5,000 (plus costs of $1,925). He was also sentenced to six months imprisonment (suspended for two years).

And now, as of last week, he has been kicked out of the real estate industry for ten years and fined $7,600 for dishonest conduct.

So, all up, for ripping off $3,500, Lindsay Stringer has copped fines and costs of $14,525, plus his own legal costs, plus a six-month suspended jail sentence, plus the loss of his real estate business, plus a ten year ban from being able to work in the industry.

Oh, and he also had to repay the $3,500 that he ripped off.

In all, a tough but fair raft of penalties which reflects the might of Queensland’s real estate justice and the effectiveness of the state’s Office of Fair Trading (who were first told about Lindsay Stringer by consumer lawyer Tim O’Dwyer back in 2000).

A spokesperson for Fair Trading Minister, Margaret Keech said, “The ban and the penalty proves that the Beattie Government is serious about weeding out unsuitable licensees to help protect consumers.”


What about Lindsay and Glenn Fallon up at Hervey Bay whose agency ripped off an elderly grandmother for $51,500 recently?

Based on what happened to Lindsay Stringer (a ten year ban for a $3,500 rip-off), the Fallon brothers should be banned for 147 years. And that’s assuming the grandmother who lost $51,500 is their only victim. Not likely.

And what about agent Peter Thackeray (the Bushranger of Baffle Creek) who fleeced a Victorian property owner of $32,000? He should be banned for 91 years, based on the formula for punishing Lindsay Stringer.

But hang on, there is a difference between the case of Lindsay Stringer and other Queensland agents who fleece consumers. Stringer attempted to hide his crime, whereas the Fallons and the Bushranger told their clients.

If you’re a Queensland agent and you want to fleece a seller, you must tell them in advance. It’s called disclosure.

Oh yes, and there’s one more difference.

Lindsay Stringer’s victims got their money back.

And the Beattie Government is serious about protecting rogue real estate agents.

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