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Number is up for accountant with false credentials

27 November 2019

A Tewantin accountant and his company have been fined a total of $54,000 today (27 November 2019) in the Noosa Magistrates Court after an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) revealed he provided unaccredited auditing services to local real estate agents.

Richard Brown Glacken, pleaded guilty to six breaches of the Australian Consumer Law and his company Glacken & Associates Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to three breaches.

Mr Glacken was fined $18,000 and his company was fined a further $36,000 with a conviction recorded against Glacken & Associates Pty Ltd.

The court heard Mr Glacken became a member of Chartered Practicing Accountants Australia Limited (CPA Australia) in 2000, however he lost his accreditation in December 2017 after a disciplinary tribunal hearing found he breached CPA Australia by-laws.

Despite this, Mr Glacken advertised that he was a member of CPA Australia who was qualified to deliver an auditing service and he provided audit services to three real estate agency clients, in addition to submitting official documentation for those clients with paperwork showing the CPA branding.

The court further heard that real estate agents are legislatively obliged to have their trust accounts audited only by a CPA or equivielent auditor and Mr Glacken had concealed the true state of affairs.

In sentencing, Magistrate Matthew McLaughlan noted the defendant’s continued use of the CPA Australia certification was an attempt to deceive the public and this type of offence undermines the integrity of the profession. He further noted the defendant had shown remorse by refunding the three real estate agencies and had lodged an early guilty plea.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said Mr Glacken’s failure to disclose his disqualification was unacceptable.

“Auditors play a pivotal role in ensuring businesses adhere to legislative and financial standards,” Mr Bauer said.

“Within the real estate industry specifically, auditors provide a key link in the chain of checks and balances which exist to protect property sellers and purchasers, landlords and tenants. Auditors who misrepresent their creditentials will incur penalties.”

Information about real estate agent’s obligations and a guide to trust accounts are available on the OFT website at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.