A real estate agency director has been handed a three-month suspended jail sentence for withholding almost $16,000 from the agency’s landlords.
Boris Real Estate sole director Suzanne Zvizdalo was found guilty of withholding tenants’ rental payments and breaching her trust account obligations, according to Consumer Affairs Victoria.
Ms Zvizdalo was given a three-month jail term, suspended for 12 months. She must also pay more than $46,000 in compensation and court costs of $1,100, and perform 150 hours of community service as part of an 18-month community corrections order.
The Melbourne agency was also fined $10,000 for breaching Victoria's Estate Agents Act 1980.
Boris Real Estate and Ms Zvizdalo had their licences suspended in December 2013 following allegations from landlords that they had not paid rental arrears.
Consumer Affairs Victoria said it began criminal action against the agency and Ms Zvizdalo following a tip-off.
“The company and Ms Zvizdalo failed to account for, deliver or pay more than $15,800 in tenants’ rental money to its clients between August and December 2013,” Consumer Affairs said.
“Ms Zvizdalo also used more than $30,000 of trust money to pay for business expenses, which was in breach of her trust account obligations.”
Ms Zvizdalo pleaded guilty to failing to keep proper accounting records and failing to have the company’s trust accounts audited.
Residential Property Manager was unable to reach Ms Zvizdalo for comment. Her mobile phone was switched off, while the agency’s landline was no longer in service.
According to financial regulator ASIC, Boris Real Estate was registered in April 2013.
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