Home Home Page Articles LJ Hooker agent pleads guilty to scamming clients out of $6.5 million

LJ Hooker agent pleads guilty to scamming clients out of $6.5 million

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Source: heraldsun.com.au

A Melbourne LJ Hooker real estate agent has pleaded guilty to 48 charges of diverting sales and rental deposits, coming to a total of almost $6.5 million.

Joseph Ngo, appeared in the Melbourne County Court where it was revealed that he had made withdrawals at the Glen Waverley Shopping Centre and spent up to $110,000 on jewelery at Tiffany & Co.

Last year, LJ Hooker cancelled six franchise licenses that Ngo and his wife managed in Melbourne.

According to court documents, a number of clients’ direct deposits ended up in the wrong accounts.

For example, Ngo asked a buyer of 10 off the plan units to deposit $700,000 into a private account belonging to Ngo.

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There is also evidence that Ngo may have run a Ponzi scheme, in which employees purchase properties listed with his agencies.

Ngo’s lawyer claims that Ngo is a religious man suffering from an untreated mental disorder.

The lawyer is hoping that Ngo, who is studying to be a minister, will dodge jail time and instead pay compensation of $2.1 million.

“There is no need for specific deterrence [in Ngo’s individual case] because the accused’s conduct was caused by his untreated psychotic state which cannot be influenced by punishment,” the lawyer’s submission said.

His wife and business partner Judy, has pleaded not guilty.

Source: ABC News