The Conviction of John Talia

Posted on August 22, 2008 by | 17 Comments

Neil Jenman - Don't Sign Anything
OPINION
by Neil Jenman
Consumer Advocate


A former Ray White franchise agent, John Michael Talia, has been convicted of obtaining property by deception.


Last Thursday (August 14, 2008), after the guilty verdict was read out in the Victorian County Court, John Talia was remanded in custody. Locked up.


Well done prosecutors. It’s about time that agents who rob the naïve and the elderly were properly punished – and the proper punishment for agents such as John Talia is a criminal conviction and a stint behind bars.


 


John Talia’s crime was a simple and common real estate crime. He bought the home of an elderly man for less than its real value.


The elderly man’s home was worth $300,000, but Talia, in his role as a real estate agent for Ray White in Doncaster (operating under the network slogan of “The Right Advice”) made sure that the man received the wrong advice.


Talia arranged for the elderly man to be tricked into thinking his home was worth between $135,000 and $155,000. Talia then offered him $145,000.


More about “The Conviction of John Talia”…

17 Comments

  • http:// says:

    It is a waste of time and energy, lodging a complaint with a body which the real estate agent is a paying member. A member lost means less income for the body.

  • http:// says:

    Is there any chance that anyone may know who the solicitor that discovered John Talia’s deceptive conduct against Mr Carbone.

    Though I am in Sydney, I still would like to get his opinion, regarding an estate agent, who deceived me into signing two contracts, one fully filled-up and another in blank. The blank one was subsequently doctored to reflect a different appraisal amount from one that was original. Furthermore, while representing me, he also entered into an exclusive sale agency with my lenders.

  • http:// says:

    Talia claimed he had an independant agent “value” the house.A mate?Why was this agent not prosecuted too?
    Have the REIV barred this “man”? from their club.The company,Bonds/aka Stockdale and Leggo is controlled by Talias family.in Victoria,the Officer in effective control accepts responsibility for the actions of a representative employee-John Talia. Why aren’t they charged.Talia has been fined ,relatively recently for a similar offence so how did this person/and the company slip through the REIV ethical practitioners net.CAV fined him $5000 and suspended his licence and his wife Suewas reprimanded and Fined.They were members iof the REIV certainly in 2007 and 2008.
    Surely Stockdale and Leggo knew of his history before Talia left Ray White..
    Could it be the REIV ,Stockdales etc are more concerned in receiving revenue than protecting members of the public?So much for the much vaunted advertising program from the REIV about only dealing with its members because of their Ethics.

  • Hi Anwar,

    The bahivour you speak of is related to “contract switching” (see https://www.reic.com.au/search/SearchResults.aspx?q=contract+switching) , which is a major problem in Victoria.

    If you would like to nominate the estate agency concerned I will write to them to seek their side of the story, and then write a blog posting about the matter.

    It is an unfortunate fact that the prosecution of Talia is a one-off, as the vast majority of crooked estate agents escape prosecution. This blog is often the only place such misdeeds are ever acknowledged.

  • http:// says:

    Hi Mr Peter Mericka

    Thanks for the response.

    I do not mind disclosing in this blog, the name of the real estate agent and also, the name of the real estate agency, so that you can pursue them. However, am worried about the ‘Privacy Act’. Will I be liable for disclosing such information before they become public properties?

    If you think that it is all right for me to do so, I shall post those details and also, the events from beginning to ending, so that all bloggers will have the opportunity to be wary of the modus operandi of this perpetrator who has caused my family immeasurable pain and sufferings, apart from the fact we lost a substantial amount of money.

    I am sure, the John Talia conviction will open a flood-gate that will make crooked agents have sleepless nights.

    Thank you.

  • Hi Anwar,

    It is better if you write out a full narrative, setting out exactly what happened, including times, dates, names and direct speech in “inverted commas”.

    When I have received your version of events I will sent it to the estate agen concerned, and ask them to comment. The story, together with any relevant comments from the estate agent, can then be posted.

    This procedure is necessary to ensure that everything is truthful and fair, and to counter any allegations of defamation.

  • http:// says:

    Hi Mr Peter Mericka

    Thanks for your response.

    I shall write a full narrative, as outlined by you and as far as possible in direct speech. After that, do I give it to you in confidence or I just post it on to this blog?

    Sorry for my ignorance.

    Thank you.

  • Hi Answar,

    Just email it to me at peter@reic.com.au and I will look after everything else.

  • http:// says:

    Hi Mr Peter Mericka

    Thanks for your reply.

    I shall prepare and email it to you tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, I thank you for your concern which will not only benefit me but others who had been deceived by unscrupulous real estate agents. It is hoped that all real estate agents read this blog, so they would come clean and sleep well.

    Thank you.

  • http:// says:

    Hi Mr Peter Mericka

    I shall email to you, later in the day, the gist of the matter and all relevant documents to substantiate some important points. The identity of the perpetrators will also be disclosed to you, so that you can pursue the matter. Unfortunately, I am unable to describe the events to include direct speech due to time factor.

    After the incident, caused by this unscrupulous real estate agent, I have to work seven days a week and with only approximately 2 hours of sleep each day.

    For the blog: I shall do later, I shall also give the gist of the events, without mentioning the actual name of the perpetrators, till all documents become public properties (matter taken up legally, so that John Talia will be lonely no more) or till you tell me that it is all right to do so. The media may be interested in this matter, since I believe what the agent had done to me was something different: the two contracts I was deceived to sign and under oath at the Tribunal Hearing, the agent swore that the second one was non-existence. He must have thought that I have misplaced the original one and he claimed the doctored one time blank contract to be the original. Another cheat was, while representing me he entered into a sale contract to sell my property on behalf of the lenders. He has been in the real estate business for the past 20 years, more or less, the same amount of experience with John Talia. Like John Talia, this agent works in one of the most established and oldest real estate franchises in Australia.

    John Talia: you will not be too lonely for too long, if all those who had been deceived by real estate agents take the matter up with the relevant authorities or join this blog to get good advice.

    Thank you.

  • http:// says:

    Hi Mr Peter Mericka

    I have emailed you the gist of the matter, written to a certain extent in direct speech. Hopefully, it meets your expectation.

    I shall now prepare the gist of the matter for the consumption of bloggers, so that they will be on guard when dealing with unscrupulous elements.

    Thank you.

  • Hi Anwar,

    Please email your material to me at the following email address:

    peter@australianrealestateblog.com.au

  • http:// says:

    I enlisted a real estate agent from one of the most established and oldest real estate franchises in Australia with franchisees in every state and possibly, offices world-wide, too.

    The agent knew that I had to sell my home, in order to avoid a financial repercussion.  He deceived me into signing two exclusive auction agency contracts, one fully filled-up and another in blank, just before he left, and his parting words were ‘to make my boss happy’.  It did not worry me at all, since he wanted to make his boss.  It did not strike my mind that it was going to my whole family unhappy: broken and penniless.  

    The auction was sabotaged, despite during the campaign, there were 79 lots of people inspecting and 11 contracts issued.  He came back with an offer, slightly above land value, which was $200 000.00 lower than another previous agent‘s, about a month before.

    The agent was regularly in touch with the lenders’ officer, supposedly to report the progress of the auction campaign.  The agent forced me to sell to his perceived ‘phantom-buyer’ but I refused and told him, that I could refinance, if I could not get my price.  A week after that, I was black-listed by the lenders, thus closing the refinancing opportunity.

    Subsequently, the agent came back with an offer of $50 000.00 more and when I told him that I could not settle, he said that the lenders would throw in perks, so that we could settle.  Upon checking with my then solicitor, it appears the ‘loan’ extended was for settlement purposes only and would be recovered via a mutual agreement or legal proceedings.  Subsequently, we discovered the ‘loan’ would be extended to me, provided our property was sold to the ‘phantom-buyer’ and through this particular agent only.

    We enlisted another agent to sell our property.  Three days after, the lenders made arrangement to value our property with the agent, showing the valuer around our house.  When the valuer intended to give a high value, the agent influenced him to drop its value, by pointing out the negative aspects of the house, so that the lenders would allow us to sell, as this will help us out, he claimed.  On the sly, the agent was trying to diminish the equity of our house, so that the lenders could repossess prematurely, if we refused to sell to the ‘phantom-buyer’.

    The new agent got us an investor-buyer with higher price and he was willing to lease-back the property to us but the sale was thwarted by the agent with the help of the lenders’ officer because I was means-tested by the crooked agent and he claimed that I could not afford to pay the new owners, my bond and rentals.  There was no indication that the investor-buyer would borrow money for the purchase, much less from our lenders.  Therefore, it was none of the lenders or real estate agent’s business to means-test me.  He disclosed to the prospective investor-buyer my financial woes.

    In order to avoid repossession and the sale to the ‘phantom-buyer’, I managed to refinance at exorbitant interest rates.

    We would like to forget the past till the real estate agency demanded payment for the auction campaign advertising bills, which we refused to pay and brought the matter to the Office of Fair Trading.  There we discovered the following documents:

    a)  the blank contract which I was deceived to sign, doctored to match the original, which was kept by us.  However, the appraisal was lower to the one kept by us.  Under oath at the Tribunal Hearing, the agent claimed there was only one contract ever issued.  The one doctored, held by him, was the original and the one I had was its copy.  He claimed he changed the appraisal on the “original”, without informing me, to reflect the spectrum of the appraisal.  This led to an investigation by the authorities.  I was refused of its report, citing if I were to make the report public the agent would lose his credential and the real estate agency’s business adversely affected.  Strangely, this particular real estate agent has a squeaky clean certificate for members of the public to verify – it is the latest update, May 2008!

    b)  a contract between the real estate agent and our lenders to sell our house, on behalf of the lenders, while the real estate agent was still representing us and he was forcing me to sell the property to his ‘phantom-buyer’.

    c)  a letter from the crooked agent’s boss to my solicitor, agreeing to the sale with the buyer of another agent and share the commission on a 50 – 50 basis.  (However, on the quiet he rang me up, forcing me to make a deal with his ‘phantom-buyer’ or face consequences.)  

    d)  a conjunction agreement he signed with the new agent

    e)  a letter from the lenders to him, giving him authority to oversee our anticipated eviction, call a locksmith to change all locks and also keep the new keys in his office.  Ironically, the lenders have their own solicitors in Sydney to represent them.

    f)  a note from my solicitor’s file, stating that the lease-back provision in the sale contract to the investor-buyer was a ‘back-door ’deal and the lenders’ officer came to know about it from a third-party (who else?).  The lenders’ officer was very angry.   Who were conducting a ‘back-door’ deal, the real estate agent and the lenders’ officer or me?  I informed my then solicitor when I got a new agent and she prepared the sale contract and the leasing agreement for me.  She informed the lenders and they approved the sale but subsequently he back-flipped.   However, she did not inform the lenders because it was none of the lenders business to know what the new owners were going to do with their purchase.

    Ironically, I emailed the real estate agent’s boss, asking him to look into the matter before I would bring the matter up to the next level.  There was no response from him.  Next, I emailed the franchise manager and till today, already more than a week, there was not even an acknowledgement of my email.   Are they really that arrogant and think that their real estate agent did not break any laws?   They have forgotten that now the Courts of Australia have a different view altogether, just in the case of John Talia.  Gone are the good old days.  

    However, our respect goes to those prudent and honest real estate agents who conduct their business in the most professional manner possible.  Please keep up the good and challenging profession you are in.

    Thank you.

  • http:// says:

    For most victims of real estate wrongdoings, upper-most in their mind would be to claim compensation for the sufferings and financial loss incurred. There is not much satisfaction derived, putting those perpetrators behind bars. Once jailed, the whole future of the crooked agents would be gone forever.

    I am just wondering whether the victims of John Talia had been fully compensated before he was put behind bars.

    Thank you.

  • http:// says:

    Hi Mr Peter Mericka

    Previously, unscrupulous real estate agents could do anything they liked and if reported, their ‘guardian’ would look into the matter and the punishment meted would be just a slap on the wrist.

    With the prosecution and conviction of John Talia, things will change and it opens a flood-gate. Like what Mr Jenman pointed out, it is the first case and chances are many will follow. A precedence has been set. I am sure John Talia will have company, sooner or later.

    I am just wondering whether a solicitor, like your good-self, is allowed to represent real estate victims in the NSW Supreme Court? If not, is there any chance that you can provide us with a list of competent solicitors and barristers who can represent
    those who had been taken for a ride by unscrupulous real estate agents.

    Thank you.

  • http:// says:

    Anwar,

    I would be interested to know in what part of Sydney this agent was operating in. You do not have to be specific, North, South, East or West may be enough. I ask this because my father is taking legal action against a certain agent. perhaps it is the same one?

    Brad

  • http:// says:

    Hi Brad

    Thanks for your response.

    He is in the East.

    The agent who caused me this financial hardship and a broken family has twenty years of real estate experience behind him.

    I appreciate your father’s gut and hopefully, many more victims would come forward to expose these perpetrators/crooks and subsequently, take the matter up legally. Only then will the industry be respected.

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please prove you\'re a human by completing this equation: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.