25.11.2018 at 22:32
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Agents Banned For Life Over Missing Money

Husband and wife pair, both real estate agents, were banned from ever practicing real estate.

Helen White, owner of My Realty Gold Coast, was found guilty in Southport Magistrates Court of 13 charges related to unauthorised use of trust account money.

Her husband, Graham White, who was also a real estate agent and also worked at My Realty Gold Coast, was found guilty of two charges of failing to conduct audits of the company's trust account.

The charges were brought by the Queensland Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

OFT told the court that from July 2016 to November 2016, Ms White wrongly converted or mismanaged trust account money amounting to more than $316,000.

The money was used for both personal and business expenses. Among those was the purchase of a rent roll of 14 properties.

As part of their investigation, OFT had frozen the trust account in November of 2016. In December of that year OFT served Ms White with a notice of suspension of her real estate licence.

However, she continued to operate the business, using her husband's licence. For example, she placed a listing for a home in Coomera. She also continued to remove funds from the trust account.

Mr White's licence was then suspended in January 2017.

It was said that she was trying to run the business herself because her husband was battling prostate cancer, and he was unaware of what was going on because he was unwell.

During sentencing Magistrate Mark Howden said Ms White had shown disrespect for the law by significant misuse of trust monies and breach of trust.

Both Mr and Ms White are now permanently disqualified from receiving a real estate licence or certificate.

Ms White was further sentenced to 9 months imprisonment, which was suspended for three years.

She was also fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $92.90 in court costs. Mr White was sentenced to a 3-year good behaviour bond of $5,000, and also ordered to pay $92.90 costs.

About 54 people have made claims to get their money back, of which $236,000 has yet to be repaid.

OFT Executive Director Brian Bauer made the usual statement about how this sort of activity is unbefitting of someone in the role of a professional real estate agent.

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