Agency investigated after home sold without owner's knowledge
Claims real estate agent breached code of conduct, failing to scrutinise sales request.
A Perth real estate agency is facing legal action for its involvement in the fraudulent sale of a home last year.
A Ballajura property owner was stunned in August when he returned to WA from overseas to discover their house had been sold without their knowledge as part of an elaborate overseas scam.
Consumer Protection WA has lodged legal proceedings in the State Administrative Tribunal against John Samykannu, who owns LJ Hooker real estate agency in Mirrabooka.
Scammed ... Roger Mildenhall. Photo: ABC
It is alleged the agency breached the real estate agents' code of conduct when it failed to properly scrutinise the request to sell the Ballajura property.
The anonymous owner's identity had been stolen and an extensive investigation by WA Police and the Australian Federal Police traced the scammers to Nigeria.
The $400,000 proceeds of the sale were transferred to a bank account in China and have not been recovered.
Police are relying on cooperation from Nigerian and Chinese authorities to track down the offenders.
The Ballajura sale took place between February and April last year and was the second such incident in less than a year after a Karrinyup home was sold in similar circumstances in September 2010.
The scams led to more than 400 WA home sales to be re-examined by Consumer Protection and Landgate, and heightened security processes were implemented for selling a WA property.
"The Commissioner for Consumer Protection will allege that the agency L.J. Hooker Mirrabooka and agent Mr John Samykannu did not exercise due skill, care and diligence by failing to properly verify the identities of the vendors," a statement from Consumer Protection WA says.
"It is further alleged that the agent failed to act in the best interests of his clients and failed to act in accordance with their instructions by not contacting them via the details listed on the 'authority to act as managing agent' agreement for their property."
A date for the hearing is yet to be set.
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