Real estate agent imprisoned for fraud

14 February 2014

Below is a case study describing what happened to a Hawkesbury real estate agent, looking at past events can help avoiding the same mistakes in the future, this is why Simeoni would like to bring this case to your attention.

A Hawkesbury real estate agent has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment after entering pleas of guilty to trust account fraud charges.

Louise Catherine Sultana, the director and company secretary of BLM Enterprises trading as Century 21 Lifestyle Hawkesbury, was convicted in Parramatta Local Court on 13 February 2014 of fraudulently converting $208,639.51 from her company’s sales trust account and $55,062.14 from her company’s rental trust account to her own use.

She was also convicted of failing to lodge rental bond funds totalling $66,650.

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said the conviction was the result of thorough and painstaking work by Fair Trading investigators.

“Dipping into a trust account is stealing and Fair Trading will vigorously pursue any real estate agent who helps themselves to funds they are supposed to hold in trust,” he said.

Ms Sultana was sentenced to a period of imprisonment of 18 months with a non-parole period of seven months.

In accordance with terms of a Deed of Settlement executed on 10 February 2014, Ms Sultana has agreed to pay $349,457.03 to the Property Services Compensation Fund.

The court heard Fair Trading began investigating Century 21 Lifestyle Hawkesbury after the company failed to lodge an audit for the period ending 30 June 2011.

Fair Trading identified the agent during an annual real estate audit program.

At the time Century 21 Lifestyle Hawkesbury had seven sales pending and was managing approximately 75 properties.

The defendant has lodged a severity appeal against her custodial sentence in the District Court and was granted conditional bail by the court subject to her surrendering her passport to the Court.

She has been ordered to appear before the Sydney Western District Court on Thursday, 6 March, 2014.

If you need any assistance to get ready for the real estate audit season please do not hesitate to contact our friendly real estate specialists 
on: 9370 0400

Content from: NSW Fair Trading 

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