Victorian police are investigating a member of Matthew Guy’s shadow cabinet for alleged fraud as a result of complaints that he wrongly claimed hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales commissions while working as a real estate agent.
Nationals MP Tim McCurdy is accused of forging the letterhead of another Cobram real estate agent to earn commissions worth $375,741 from the sale of two northern Victorian farms to a Chinese buyer in 2009.
Police questioned Mr McCurdy and searched his Cobram home and office in May as part of the investigation.
“Police executed two warrants in Cobram on 30 May,” a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.
“The warrants relate to an investigation into an alleged fraud from 2009. A 54-year-old Cobram man was also interviewed and was released pending further inquiries.”
The allegations centre on the sale of a 581-hectare dairy farm in Boosey, known as Malmo, for $7.8 million with a $245,850 commission in July 2009 to Xing Long International.
The other farm in Katamatite, called Pinegrove, sold for $3.9 million with a $129,891 commission in December 2009 to the same buyer.
In 2014, the company that initially brokered the property deals lodged a County Court writ accusing Mr McCurdy of engaging in “misleading and deceptive” conduct in breach of the Fair Trading Act.
Mr McCurdy worked for PGG Wrightson between June 2008 and February 2009, when real estate agent Andrew Gilmour bought the Cobram branch of the business.
Before he left, the company claimed Mr McCurdy suggested the sales of Malmo and Pinegrove had “fallen over” and “were not proceeding due to the lack of finance”.
The statement of claim alleged Mr McCurdy later forged Mr Gilmour’s letterhead to profit from the sales, even though he was not employed by him or entitled to any commission.
MP ‘believed matter with former employer was over’
Mr McCurdy said he reached a confidential legal agreement with his former employer after mediation in 2014.
“As far as I was concerned, the matter was finalised,” he said.
“Police contacted me around two months ago to say they had been told they needed to make further routine inquiries. Two officers visited my office and home that day, but took nothing. I have not heard anything further since.”
The farms were sold before Mr McCurdy became an MP in 2010.
He is the shadow minister for veterans, sport and gaming and liquor regulation.