Trust Account Theft VIC
Updated: Nov 10, 2021
After being convicted of trust account violations, a former real estate agent received a two-year Community Corrections Order and must do 100 hours of community service.
After pleading guilty to offences under the Estate Agents Act 1980, Harald Simon Michaelis, 58, of Pascoe Vale, was found guilty of causing a deficiency of trust money and illegally converting money obtained as an estate agent.
Mr Michaelis worked for Boston & Brighton Property Consultants Pty Ltd (ACN 603 647 703) between January and March 2019 when he committed the offences. The agency's Narre Warren office closed in May 2021, and the firm has since been deregistered.
Mr Michaelis neglected to transfer monies into a vendor's account following the sale and settlement of a property, prompting a complaint to CAV in early January 2019.
Mr Michaelis then self-reported to CAV in mid-January 2019, alleging he was having trouble managing a trust account.
He also transferred client funds from the Boston & Brighton trust account to his own account at this time.
As a result of Mr Michaelis' wrongdoing, consumers have experienced stress and financial loss.
Graphite Business Advisers currently service more than 350 agencies across Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne. Here's 3 tips to prevent trust account theft at your agency:
NEVER give full bank authorities to any staff or external providers.
Ensure staffs are given limited access to trust accounting software, and review software file change records.
Conduct random checks on bank account details and if possible, rotate staff functions.