An agent claiming an association with realtors Chase Commercial, was able to convince a prospect to part with a  $70k deposit for a prime Capalaba industrial site, when the property had not in fact, been listed with them.
Claims by Brisbane agent James Lyons that he was “effectively a sub-agent” for Chase, in the marketing of the former boat yard on Old Cleveland Road, were found last month – by QCAT member Anne Forbes – to have been false.

Lyons got pen to paper from Mark Finnegan in December 2012. The deal had his company Gateway Storage Holdings Pty Ltd, buying at $1.4 million – presumably to extend its self-storage shipping container business – from aged care group, Superior Care. The buyer paid the deposit into the agency’s Westpac account.

When the seller still hadn’t countersigned by mid-February, Finnegan lost patience and called for his deposit to be returned.

That never happened.

In an attempt to find if the cash was still secure, Westpac put on a trace.

The outcome was startling. From “the licensee’s business cash reserve account”, the deposit had been “followed by a series of internet withdrawals of large, rounded amounts, leaving a credit balance of just $2.73” only two weeks later.

QCAT was adjudicating an ultimately successful buyer request, for restitution of its loss – claimed to have been due to misappropriation of the deposit or from the neglect of the agency – from the PAMDA “claim fund”.

Subject to appeal, Lyons and his company were ordered to pay the compo payout to the buyer, back to the fund.

Gateway Storage Holdings Pty Ltd v JLRT Pty Ltd & Lyons [2014] QCAT 291 Dr Forbes, Member 23/06/2014


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