[Author – Tim ODwyer]
A Queensland real estate agent and his company have been disqualified for 10 years and penalised more than $7600 for dishonest conduct.
In a recent media release Queensland’s Fair Trading Minister Margaret Keech said Lindsay Stringer, licensed principal of Stringer Corporation, trading as The Professionals Shailer Park, admitted to the Commercial and Consumer Tribunal that he had dishonestly converted trust monies.
“Stringer and his company were both disqualified for 10 years from holding licences under the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000. Stringer was also disqualified for 10 years from being an executive officer of a corporation that holds a licence under the Act,” she said.
Mrs Keech said in the course of selling a property, Stringer was found to be charging consumers higher amounts than the actual costs of sale-related expenses such as termite treatments and advertising, and then pocketing the difference.
“He was taking advantage of vendors from overseas who were unable to keep a close eye on the sale of their property. When his illegal conduct was discovered during Office of Fair Trading investigations, he engaged in a complex scheme to cover the fraud,” she said.
Stringer profited by more than $3500 from ripping off his clients.
“The penalties imposed by the CCT are additional to a $5000 fine Stringer Corporation was ordered to pay along with $1925 costs after prosecution in the Magistrates Court in June 2004 for the same offence. At that time, Stringer was given a six-month jail sentence suspended for two years although he did repay the money after his rip-off was detected,” the Minister added.
But wait, there’s more.
Two years ago I sent this letter to Minister Keech about this licensed crook:
“We congratulate you and your Department on the successful conviction of Mr. Stringer for his trust account fraud.
We have been informed by the Beenleigh Magistrates Court that the offences in question occurred between 1st October 2001 and 31st October 2002.
We enclose for your information a copy of a (pro forma) letter dated 20th April 2000 from the Office of Fair Trading in response to a complaint we made earlier that month regarding the conduct of Mr. Stringer and his agency. Our complaint raised, among other things, a trust account irregularity regarding a sales contract deposit. After more than four years, we have heard nothing further from the Office of Fair Trading and wonder, if it had acted promptly on our complaint about Stringer’s dealing with his trust account, his later fraudulent conduct might have been discovered if not prevented much earlier.
Why has our complaint taken so long to be investigated?”