Real estate boss pleads guilty to fraud

A Sydney agent and company director who created fictitious real estate listings to obtain early commissions and defrauded his company’s trust account of more than $800,000 has pleaded guilty to 12 charges.

Shaun Andrew Crockford of Claremont Meadows was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, to be served by way of an Intensive Corrections Order commencing on 30 March 2016 and concluding on 29 March 2018.

The charges relate to a number of Crimes Act offences including fraud and making and using false documents, as well as offences under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act for fraudulently converting money. NSW Fair Trading said a number of other charges were admitted and taken into consideration for sentencing.

NSW Fair Trading commissioner Rod Stowe said Mr Crockford, who was the sole director and company secretary of Quakers Hill Property Management, created false contracts for sale of land signed by fictitious vendors and purchasers, as well as false bank account statements, false sales ledgers and false stamped bank deposit slips.

“He was robbing Peter to pay Paul to keep his cash flow going,” said Mr Stowe.

“He fabricated 71 sales contracts for the purpose of drawing commissions from debtor factoring agencies, he provided fabricated records to the agency’s auditors over a number of years and created several fake owner statements issued to landlords detailing remittances that were never paid.”

Mr Crockford also fabricated a sales inspection report, an exclusive agency agreement and a sales contract document using the name of a former client, and used an old contract reference number on the sales document, according to Mr Stowe.

“Furthermore, as a result of the defalcation of the trust fund, there was insufficient money to cover genuine purchasers’ sale deposits to genuine vendors on five real estate sales transactions in 2015,” he said.

Mr Crockford ‘created’ properties for his fraudulent transactions in suburbs including Kellyville, Rouse Hill, Cherrybrook, Beaumont Hills, Schofields and Castle Hill.

On 5 November 2015, NSW Fair Trading cancelled Mr Crockford’s real estate agent’s licence and disqualified him from holding a licence for 15 years. He is also disqualified from being involved in the direction, management or conduct of the business of a licensee for the same period.

NSW Fair Trading appointed managers to Quakers Hill Property Management on 9 January 2015.

[Related: Real estate agent jailed for fraud]

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