Queensland Office of Fair Trading bans real estate agent

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A Brisbane real estate agent has been banned for seven years and fined almost $10,000 after she was found to have falsified evidence and misused a trust account.

Teresa Janet Schouten, trading as Janet Schouten Real Estate, was handed the punishments by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal after an investigation into her business dealings by the Queensland Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The tribunal heard Schouten misappropriated $1,988 worth of bond monies received from her tenants, paying them into her own general account instead of the business trust account.

The tribunal also heard Schouten falsified invoices and gave false evidence in prior tribunal proceedings for her own financial gain. The tribunal had awarded Ms Schouten $1,090.98 from tenants based on this falsified evidence.

Schouten failed to engage with the tribunal throughout proceedings and has not repaid amounts owing to the industry claim fund, which has compensated the consumers affected by her offending.

Schouten was found to have breached the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 and was disqualified from holding any form of real estate licence or certificate for 7 years and also handed a $9,900 fine.

OFT executive director Brian Bauer said the severity of the punishment handed down showed the OFT was committed to ensuring agents abide by the rules.

“This former agent displayed an extreme level of dishonesty, with the sole purpose of benefiting herself financially, to the detriment of consumers,” Bauer said.

“The lengthy disqualification and fine are testament to the fact that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.”

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