Agent’s clients get $2m payout
MORE than $2 million worth of claims have been ticked off in connection with the collapse of six LJ Hooker offices in Melbourne’s east last April. Figures obtained by the
Sunday Herald Sun show 57 requests were approved through the Victorian Property Fund last year over missing home deposits, rent and marketing costs.
Eight were from vendors for sales deposits, 48 from landlords for rental money and one was from a vendor who lost money paid for marketing.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has also authorised the payment of outstanding rent totalling more than $34,000 to 21 claimants from the balance of the estate agent’s rental trust account.
Overall, more than 80 claims have been lodged with CAV after millions of dollars went missing from trust accounts managed by offices of former LJ Hooker franchisee Judy Thanh Truc.
Ms Truc originally blamed hackers and then her husband Joseph Ngo — whom she said she had separated from.
The offices in Box Hill, Keysborough, Doncaster, Glen Waverley, Mount Waverley and Burwood were shut down and taken over by CAV on April 21 last year.
Victim Jan Melih, 74, said he and wife Katarina had been able to move on after receiving their missing $61,000 buyers’ deposit through the VPF.
“Of course, I am happy, because I can go on with my life,” he said. “I’m not sure what Consumer Affairs is going to do about it. Those people have broken the law but I have no idea what’s going on.
“As far as I’m concerned I think if you break the law you should pay the price.”
The CAV said the remaining claims were being worked through.
A spokeswoman for LJ Hooker said the brand had beefed up its compliance processes and systems.
“Since the closure of Glen Waverley and associated offices, LJ Hooker has rolled out an intensified training program regarding trust account management in a move to further improve its own and industry standards,” she said.