A former Sydney-based real estate agent has been jailed for 18 months and ordered to pay $123,830 compensation after he was found guilty of misappropriating monies from clients' property trust accounts.
In addition, the former Raine & Horne employee Phillip Chau, was also found to be operating without a licence.
Mr Chau’s real estate agent’s licence was cancelled in 1993 after he was convicted with being an unregistered salesperson.
“Over two months Mr Chau treated the real estate agency’s clients’ trust accounts as his own personal bank account, making 18 withdrawals for his personal and business use,” Fair Trading minister Virginia Judge said in response to the Sydney District Court’s decision earlier this month.
In announcing its decision, the Sydney District Court imposed a non-parole period of 12 months on Mr Chau.
Ms Judge said the decision sends a powerful message that the state government will pursue anyone conducting business in a fraudulent manner.
"Mr Chau is an unlicensed person who helped himself to his clients’ money for his own personal gain. His conduct was illegal, unethical and unacceptable,” she said.
Ms Judge reaffirmed that the agent licensing system operates so consumers can be confident they’re dealing with qualified agents who have the proper business principles to carry out the work.