Defrauding days over for Brisbane property manager
13 February 2017
A real estate salesperson was ordered to pay $4,416.54 and disqualified from working in the industry for five years by the Wynnum Magistrates Court on Friday (10 February 2017), following an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation.
Rachel Ireland, a former property manager at a Carindale real estate agency, pleaded guilty to misappropriating trust money. Ms Ireland was disqualified from working in the real estate industry for five years, fined $1,000 and ordered to pay $3,416.54 in restitution. The Court ordered the fine and restitution be paid within two months.
The OFT investigated Ms Ireland after receiving a complaint from her employer about the misappropriation.
The Court heard Ms Ireland rented a property through the agency she worked for and on nine occasions, between 9 December 2015 and 5 March 2016, manipulated rent payments of other tenants to appear she had paid for the bond, rent and gardening services on her own rented property.
The agency promptly repaid the shortfall, ensuring no consumers were left out of pocket.
In sentencing, the Court considered Ms Ireland’s guilty plea, her personal circumstances, and remorse. The Court did note her behaviour had caused personal stress on the agency’s tenants, who paid rent in good faith.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said Ms Ireland’s disqualification from the industry sent a strong message to other real estate professionals.
“This behaviour will not be tolerated and the outcome on Friday shows real estate agents they are not above the law,” Mr Bauer said.
“They must act honestly and professionally, ensuring money provided to them is held in trust.
“The OFT will continue to prosecute agents who don’t meet their legal obligations.”
Anyone who believes a real estate salesperson or agent may have misappropriated trust money is encouraged to lodge a complaint and provide any available evidence to the OFT at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.