Founder of real estate agency Unique Estates Australia Ms Nicolette Van Wijngaarden has pleaded guilty to two charges for fraudulently misusing more than $3.6 million dollars.
The matter is the largest case of real estate fraud ever recorded by NSW Fair Trading and comes after an extensive Fair Trading investigation.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rose Webb said the 44-year-old woman pleaded guilty in the Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday 27 June and the pleas were a positive step to ensuring the defendant was held legally accountable for the offences.
Fair Trading conducts several compliance operations a year targeted at improving standards across the real estate industry and ensuring individuals within it are complying with their obligations as members.
“Following on from these operations, Fair Trading takes all disciplinary and enforcement action necessary, to ensure that people misusing trust money are adequately punished.
“This case should act as a deterrent to all real estate agents – Fair Trading has no tolerance for agents misusing funds or other fraudulent behaviour,” Ms Webb said.
Ms Van Wijngaarden entered a plea to two charges under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 (NSW). One charge reflects the misappropriation of sales deposits and the other the misuse of rental payments by tenants.
The matter will next be before the courts on 12 July 2019.