Landlord finds dope operation, gets arrested for mortgage fraud

by AB08 Nov 2013

A Melbourne landlord who called police to his property in the Western suburbs, where the tenant was growing a ‘sophisticated’ hydroponic marijuana crop, was later charged with fraudulently obtaining a mortgage on the house, according to the Herald Sun newspaper.

Lerich Tran apparently used fake pay slips to falsely claim he worked full time as a chef, making $3677 per month, in order to obtain a $448,000 loan from Westpac.

Defence counsel John Saunders said Tran, once a Vietnamese refugee, told police he couldn’t qualify for the mortgage but could meet the monthly repayments, which he did until his January arrest.

"This man wanted to buy a house, he wanted to get ahead, he wanted to make something of himself," Saunders told the County Court.

He said Tran was assisted by a ‘dodgy’ conveyancer, who allegedly created the false pay slips and is the subject of a large criminal investigation.

Prosecutor Catherine Parkes said police discovered 358 cannabis plants totalling more than 100kg of marijuana when they searched Tran's Burnside Heights tenanted property in May last year.

Tran apparently noticed the house was damaged when he visited to trim trees and called the police. The father of two pleaded guilty to obtaining financial advantage by deception and a summary offence of failing to change the address on his licence.

He was also prosecuted by the State Revenue Office and charged with four offences, including refusing to repay the first homeowners' grant, to which he was not entitled, and making a false statement.

He received a 15-month community corrections order, under which he must complete 250 hours of unpaid community work.


  • by Dave Robinson 8/11/2013 9:01:33 AM

    No doubt ASIC will be investigating the loans officer at Westpac and the press release advising of their banning for 4 years will be issued in due course.

  • by Country Broker 8/11/2013 9:25:08 AM

    Ok So what did the loans officer at Westpac know , did they do multiple loans for the conveyancer? didi Westpac seek to confirm the pay slips as we are to do . Will ASIC investigate The lender? Probably not .
    It just shows how careful brokers need to be because if a broker was innocently caught up in this ASIC would be all over them .

  • by Mark Davis 8/11/2013 9:31:59 AM

    Any Brokers/Bankers privie to such information around false documents needs to be taken ot of the industry immediately. Its time such behaviour is elminated completely from our great industry.