Real estate boss suspended after missing eight audit reports

A Melbourne agent who has been reprimanded over a trust account breach is unlikely to return to the industry once his suspension ends.

Clynton Mark Roberts, who was the director of Glen Iris agency Harlgate Pty Ltd, has had his licence suspended for six months, starting on 12 November.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found that Mr Roberts failed to lodge trust account audit reports for eight of 10 financial years between 2005 and 2014.

Consumer Affairs Victoria said Mr Roberts acknowledged that he had failed to have the trust accounts audited and copies of the trust account report lodged.

The regulator said Mr Roberts had also agreed that he had failed to exercise “due skill, care and diligence” in performing his functions as an agent.

The tribunal ordered Mr Roberts to undertake training units in establishing and maintaining an agency as well as identifying ethical and legal requirements.

Mr Roberts told REB that while he had failed to meet his compliance obligations, there had been no suggestion by Consumer Affairs that he had stolen money.

“There was no fraud or misappropriation of funds or anything with my trust accounts,” he said.

“It was late and I accepted that. I didn't have an issue with them giving me a penalty for not doing it. I understand the regulations.”

Mr Roberts said the reason he had failed to lodge reports in 2005 and 2006 was due to an oversight – he believed the reports actually had been lodged.

The reason he missed subsequent reports was due to the stress of looking after a sick child, he added.

Mr Roberts said he had joined the industry in 1983 and had owned his business since 1989, but that he had sold Harlgate in 2013 and didn’t expect to return to real estate practice.

“I said to Consumer Affairs while this was going on that I wasn’t going to practice or work for anybody or anything like that,” he said.

[Related: Pressured real estate boss banned for fraud]

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