An investigation that stemmed from revelation that a realtor employee had misappropriated rental bond money has resulted in a real estate agent being sentenced to a 12-month intensive correction order.
Guncom Pty Ltd’s former director, Alice Gaye Gunning, has been convicted of four breaches of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 and will now serve the community-based 12-month intensive correction order for fraud-related offences.
The NSW government reported that the sentence, which includes 150 hours of community service work – and a $1,150 fine – was the result of a NSW Fair Trading investigation that began on discovery of misappropriation of rental bond money by a Guncom employee.
In Parramatta Local Court, Ms Gunning had pleaded guilty to the offences of: failing to have her business’ trust account audited, failing to properly supervise staff and breaching conduct rules contained in the act.
She had pleaded not guilty to the offence of being knowingly concerned as a director of a company that fraudulently converted $98,800 of trust money – an offence of which she was subsequently found guilty.
The NSW Fair Trading executive director of investigations and enforcement, Valerie Griswold, has weighed in on the decision, calling trust management a “serious responsibility”.
“Monies held in trust are working funds that underpin every real estate business and must be handled in accordance with the applicable legislation.”
“A trust is there to protect each party involved in a transaction,” Ms Griswold said.
She flagged that the integrity of real estate businesses depends on how well they manage their trust.
Ms Gunning previously had her real estate licence cancelled in February 2018 for a four-year period.