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LJ Hooker Coochiemudlo Island fails to meet audit obligations

21 June 2019

The Director of LJ Hooker Coochiemudlo Island pleaded guilty today in the Brisbane Magistrates Court after the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) brought charges for breaching the Agents Financial Administration Act 2014 (the Act).

Clifford Ralph Prentis, director of Wayjac Pty Ltd, trading as LJ Hooker Coochiemudlo Island, based in the southern region of Moreton Bay near Brisbane, was fined $2,000 for failing to lodge an audit report within the time limit. The company was fined $10,000.

No conviction was recorded.

The court heard Mr Prentis carried on business as a real estate agent and operated two trust accounts during the audit period of 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017.

Under the Act, Mr Prentis was required to have had the trust accounts audited, and the audit reports lodged with the OFT, by 30 April 2018.

The OFT has not received the audit reports.

In sentencing, Magistrate Tina Previtera noted the early guilty pleas and also took into consideration Mr Prentis’ health.

She also noted the agency had previously entered into an undertaking with the OFT to submit audit reports on time, but had failed to do so.

Fair Trading Acting Executive Director Craig Turner said the case served as a reminder to real estate agents of their obligations when it came to the operation of trust accounts.

“Agents who fail to comply with their trust account obligations will incur penalties,” Mr Turner said.

“Agents are able to get assistance from legal or financial professionals or the OFT if they have questions regarding trust accounts.”

Trust account obligations, including a guide for real estate salespeople, are available on the OFT website at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.