A property manager has been banned permanently from working in the industry after she illegally withdrew $30,000 from her agency’s trust account.
Jenelle Lee Maslin, who worked at Shenton Park real estate agency in Western Australia, made 14 unauthorised withdrawals from the agency’s trust account amounting to almost $30,000 between January 2012 and August 2013.
She was fined $20,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court and a criminal conviction has been recorded against her.
Ms Maslin was later issued an official reprimand by the State Administrative Tribunal and was permanently banned from obtaining a registration in the future.
WA Consumer Protection said the money withdrawn was mostly bond and rental payments from tenants, and it was deposited into Ms Maslin’s personal bank account.
The money was then listed as being lodged with the Bond Administrator or as unpaid rent in the agency’s records.
The missing money wasn’t discovered until after Ms Maslin’s employment with the agency had ended. The licensee had to reimburse the trust account for the full amount taken by Ms Maslin.
In handing down his decision, Magistrate Heany said he took into consideration Ms Maslin’s personal circumstances at the time, that she had no prior record and that the money had been paid back.
However, he said that the amount taken was a significant sum and the offences were very serious.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll condemned the conduct of Ms Maslin, who betrayed the trust that the community places in those who work in the real estate industry.
“The level of cover-up by Ms Maslin made it extremely difficult to detect the illegal withdrawals but when discovered by the licensee, he acted appropriately to firstly rectify the shortfall in the trust account and then bring the matter to the attention of Consumer Protection,” Ms Driscoll said.