A GOLD Coast resident letting agent has been fined $65,000 for stealing rent money from clients.
Gary Anthony Wyeth from Wyeth Management Services on Monday pleaded guilty to one count each of providing falsified documents and failing to pay trust money in Southport Magistrates Court.
Both Wyeth and his business were conjointly charged, convicted and ordered to pay $65,000 in fines.
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The court heard Mr Wyeth provided falsified statements to one of his unit owner clients in an attempt to cover up a misappropriation of funds, totalling $3,740.
In March 2018, the licenced letting agent knowingly handed over documents that contained 33 months’ worth of misleading information to the Office of Fair Trading in an effort to hide his dealings.
After appointing receivers over the agent’s trust property portfolio in April, Fair Trading was provided with a summary of 18 unit owners who had incurred a combine rental shortfall of $81,501.09.
In addition, the Wyeth Management Services trust account only held $9,760.80, a shortfall of $71,740.29.
In sentencing Magistrate Sinclair noted that the agent had engaged in a protracted and deliberate course of dishonest conduct.
Fair Trading Acting Executive Director Craig Turner said Mr Wyeth showed a lack of respect to the industry by failing to uphold his position of trust as a property agent.
“Any misappropriation of trust money or the production of falsified accounts will not be tolerated and will result in strong enforcement action by the OFT,” Mr Turner said.
“Actions like these undermine the image of the majority of agents who work ethically within the industry.”