Tip for landlords: If you're going to call the police to bust a tenant's 'sophisticated' marijuana growing operation, make sure you haven't committed mortgage fraud to buy the property in question.
Someone failed to share this tip with an Australian landlord, who called police to his property in Melbourne, 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 a bank.
Defense 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 200lbs 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 offense of failing to change the address on his license.
He received a 15-month community corrections order, under which he must complete 250 hours of unpaid community work.