Two agents from a major network have been sentenced to more than a year in prison for their role in a $1.4 million real estate fraud operation.
Roger and Gordana Ocvirk, former director and company secretary of Strata Decisions Wollongong and also of Dougmal Harcourts Warilla were each sentenced to 18 months imprisonment with a 12-month non-parole period.
Ms Ocvirk pleaded guilty to fraudulently omitting to account for $1,235,402.67, held in trust by Strata Decisions Wollongong and also pleaded guilty to fraudulently omitting to account for $198,708.76, held in trust by Dougmal Harcourts.
Her husband, Roger Ocvirk, was charged with the same offences.
The offences were brought to light in January last year, when Ms Ocvirk notified Fair Trading of trust account anomalies and handed herself into Lake Illawarra Police Station.
The same day, lawyers acting on her behalf sent Fair Trading a full admission of her conduct and that of her husband.
Four days later the licensee of Dougmal Harcourts, Tom Imre, filed a written complaint with Fair Trading, advising investigators the sales trust account operated by Dougmal Harcourts was overdrawn as a result of an employee making unauthorised withdrawals.
In the complaint, Mr Imre alleged the Ocvirks had withdrawn funds totalling approximately $170,000 from the sales trust account operated by the Harcourts office.
Earlier this month, Mr Imre pleaded guilty in Wollongong Local Court to one count of breaching the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act by failing to properly supervise a business.
He was fined $2,000 plus court costs of $83 and professional costs of $250 and his agent’s licence was cancelled for two years.
Fair Trading commissioner Rod Stowe described the case as tragic but said the actions of the Ocvirks required the full force of the law.
“Fraud of any sort in the real estate industry will not be tolerated and Fair Trading will continue its program of spot inspections to ensure all agents are operating within the law when it comes to trust account fund management,” he said.
Both defendants have appealed the sentence.