A Gold Coast company’s been slapped with a massive fine, for scamming 18 people in a property scheme.
The Queensland government’s released information about the company, ‘Key to Australia’ Pty Ltd, which traded as a real estate agent, financial advisor, auctioneer, and mortgage broker.
The company and its sole director Mr Graham Scarrott were conjointly charged with 18 breaches of the Australian Consumer Law, for ‘making false and misleading representations about the land’.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
It’s understood the company marketed residential housing lots in Pimpama as investment opportunities for people in New Zealand and Victoria.
The consumers were told that the lots had Council approval to be subdivided into three, on which three separate townhouses could be built.
They were also told they could make up to 300 per cent profit on their initial investments and were guaranteed that if the investment scheme didn’t proceed, they’d be able to get their full deposit back.
Despite telling consumers that Council had approved subdivision plans, when he finally sought approval, Council rejected it several times.
Mr Scarrot pleaded guilty to all 18 breaches in Southport Court this month and has been ordered to pay over $1.5 million in compensation back to the consumers.
Queensland’s Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman says the Office of Fair Trading does important work.
“This matter and its outcome are a reminder to all businesses that operate in the property sector of their obligations and duty to act honestly with consumers.
“Consumers have every right to expect that representations made to them are not false, misleading or deceptive.
“If real estate agents breach consumer protection laws the OFT will not hesitate to investigate them and take appropriate enforcement action if required,” the Attorney-General said.