A real estate agent who made 38 personal payments from her trust account, including for her own business business rent, claimed to have been “overwhelmed” by accounting requirements and that she was acting out of personal stress.
Christine Jury – who operated Sparkling Real Estate in Moura – secured the management of 48 rental homes within a few months of starting but ignored a staff member’s plea to get “professional help” when the trust ledger could not be reconciled.
The QCAT judgement records that expenses paid from the account include “magazine advertising, business rent, advertising, software fees, laptop purchase, printer ink, school fees, postage, phone account, doctor?s fees, real estate application fees, RP Data fees, and newsagent charges”.
The agent fully admitted to paying a total of $27,006.51 from trust for business and personal expenses because of the absence of sufficient working capital for starting the business.
All funds were eventually repaid as was her intention all along. “I have broken the rules regarding use of the trust account but my intention was never fraudulent, only short sightedness, ” she said in a statement to the QCAT tribunal.
The OFT view was “In short she treated the trust account as if it was her own bank account, never manifest any real intention to address the situation and places blame onto others for her own conduct”.
Ms Jury was banned from the real estate industry for 15 years and fined $2,000.