Real estate agent "withheld landlord
The former principal licensee of a real estate agency has
been fined $20,000 after pleading guilty in court to withholding rent monies
owed to property owner clients.
Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) launched an
investigation into the dealings of Todd Curran, the then licensee of Curran
Prestige Gold Coast, following a complaint from a landlord that the agency had
failed to disburse his rental income.
According to the OFT, that investigation uncovered 30
separate instances where trust money was "wrongfully converted” away from
clients, between 28 May and 16 November in 2017.
In total, four landlords were
collectively deprived of $25,470 in rental income. The agency was also found to
have retained a further $1,844.19 in "rewards, expenses and commissions” to
which it was not entitled.
The impacted clients have not been
repaid the funds, a spokesperson for the OFT confirmed.
In a statement, the OFT said that the
unnamed principal licensee had pleaded guilty in Southport Magistrates Court on
11 February 2019 to four charges of wrongfully converting or falsely accounting
for trust money, in addition to two breaches of the Property Occupations Act
2014 and five breaches of the Agents Financial Administration Act 2014.
It noted that the judge found the
offences were serious and had severely disadvantaged clients who had trusted
the agency to act on their behalf in managing their properties and rent
"The OFT will take action against real estate agents who put
consumers at financial risk by disregarding their legal obligations,” said OFT
acting executive director Craig Turner.
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Sunday, 17 February 2019