A BRISBANE real estate agent has been given a suspended jail sentence after he was found guilty of spending his tenants’ rent and bond money following an investigation led by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
Satvinder Singh Dhillon, sole director and principal agent of Lionheart Realty, was found guilty of wrongful
conversion of trust money in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.
The court heard Mr Dhillon transferred $13,142 of his tenants’ rent and bond money into his personal account instead of passing it onto the property owners and the Residential Tenancies Authority.
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The OFT’s investigation also revealed Mr Dhillon’s real estate licence expired on 10 May 2016, but he
continued to work illegally as a real estate agent, operating Lionheart Realty.
In sentencing on Friday, the magistrate stressed the seriousness of the offences and the betrayal of trust that such breaches cause.
Mr Dhillon was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and was disqualified from holding a real estate licence for five years.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer emphasised trust money did not belong to real estate agents and must never be treated as personal money.
“Tenants and property owners expect their real estate agents will manage trust accounts appropriately,” Mr Bauer said.
“Bond money does not belong to a real estate agent, and must be transferred to the RTA correctly.
“The OFT will continue to investigate allegations of real estate agents who misappropriate trust money and take action against those who do.”
Anyone who believes a real estate agent may have misappropriated trust money or is acting as an agent without the appropriate licence is encouraged to lodge a complaint to the OFT at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.