Real estate professional guilty of fraud

A real estate professional has pleaded guilty to misappropriating trust money, following an Office of Fair Trading investigation.

Rachel Ireland, a former property manager at a Carindale, Queensland real estate agency, was disqualified from working in the real estate industry for five years, fined $1,000 and ordered to pay $3,416.54 in restitution.

The notices were handed down by the Wynnum Magistrates Court last week.

The court also ordered the fine and restitution be paid within two months.

The Office of Fair Trading investigated Ms Ireland after receiving a complaint from her employer about the misappropriation.

The court heard Ms Ireland rented a property through the agency she worked for and on nine occasions, between 9 December 2015 and 5 March 2016, manipulated rent payments of other tenants to appear as if she had paid for the bond, rent and gardening services on her own rented property.

The agency promptly repaid the shortfall, ensuring no consumers were left out of pocket.

In sentencing, the court considered Ms Ireland’s guilty plea, her personal circumstances and remorse.

Fair Trading executive director Brian Bauer said Ms Ireland’s disqualification from the industry sent a strong message to other real estate professionals.

“This behaviour will not be tolerated and the outcome on Friday shows real estate agents they are not above the law,” he said.

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