Applicant for B.C. strata management license ordered to pay $10,000 for past credit card fraud conviction

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      Previous criminal conviction alone does not make a person unsuitable to be licensed under the B.C. Real Estate Act.

      People who show that they have rehabilitated themselves can qualify to work a licensed professional under the real estate legislation.

      This applies as well to Preston Chun To Tong.

      Tong has asked the Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC) for a strata management license.

      Tong was convicted in 2012 for credit card fraud in connection with actions he took as part of a group in 2011.

      He shopped at UBC and other locations using fake credit cards.

      He was ordered to serve a 12-month conditional sentence, which he completed. His file was closed in 2013.

      The court also ordered Tong to make two restitutions: $6,861.57 to TD Canada Trust, and $3,325.16 to RBC Royal Bank.

      When a committee of the RECBC heard Tong’s application for a license in September 2019, the man has not yet paid the banks the over $10,000 he owes.

      After “anxious deliberation”, the committee determined that Tong is a “suitable person to be licensed as a strata management licensee”.

      The RECBC on November 26, 2020 posted online the findings of the committee.

      But before he gets a license, Tong must compensate the two banks, the committee ordered.

      “Mr. Tong stated that he was unable to make the restitution payments as he had been unable to save up the large sum of money required,” the committee noted.

      Tong also stated that he was willing to take out a personal loan from a financial institution to pay the restitution “if it plays a major role in [his] licence application approval.”

      Tong advised RECBC staff that he could also borrow money from family. However, “he did not want to go there before confirming that I’d have to do that in order to get licensed”.

      “Mr. Tong testified that he has since realized he must take care of this outstanding issue and realizes that if it remains outstanding it will affect his future employment and activities in many ways, including not being able to go to the US,” the committee noted.

      The committee also stated that Tong’s offences took place over a two-week period “when he was much younger and that, although restitution has been outstanding for 8 years, he presented a number of reasons for his inability or reluctance to pay”.

      “He advised that he plans to pay and deal with this matter, but had not fully done so at the time of the hearing. His intent to pay must be fully considered,” the committee also noted.

      Moreover, Tong has “expressed remorse for his actions leading to the Convictions and a desire to move forward in his life”.

      Tong has no other criminal convictions since he was sentenced for fraud.