Powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
realestatebusiness logo

Breaking news and updates daily. Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Home of the REB Top 100 Agents
Breaking news and updates daily. Subscribe to our newsletter

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.

Qld director cops 3 years jail time for trust fund dishonesty

By Grace Ormsby
07 July 2022 | 1 minute read
Brisbane Qld District Supreme Court reb

A former Rainbow Beach agent will spend time behind bars for the misuse of more than $200,000 in trust money.

Ian Andrew Phillips pleaded guilty to dishonestly taking trust account money for his own use in Brisbane District Court on 5 July 2022.

Mr Phillips was formerly the sole director and principal licensee of Think Tank Management — a company that held the management rights to Rainbow Beach Resort.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Think Tank Management had opened a trust account to handle funds associated with the resort’s management, with Mr Phillips as the sole signatory of the trust account.

The court had heard that between January 2017 and February 2019, money in the trust account that belonged to unit owners was being transferred to the Think Tank Management business account to cover expenses, including tax debts, staff wages and superannuation payments.

Over that period, a total of $219,128 was unlawfully transferred from the trust account to the business bank account.

While Mr Phillips was the sole signatory of the account, he had arranged for his business partner and general manager of the resort, Tony Charles Freeman, to have electronic access while he was not on the premises.

According to the Office of Fair Trading, email correspondence between the two men showed that Mr Phillips was aware of the financial difficulties the business was facing and approved requests from Mr Freeman to move money from the trust account into the business bank account.

Mr Freeman had appeared in front of the Brisbane District Court back in March 2021, when he also pleaded guilty to dishonestly using trust money. At that time, he was sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment wholly suspended, with a conviction recorded.

In this instance, Mr Phillips was sentenced to three years imprisonment, to serve a minimum of six months behind bars.

In sentencing the former agent, Justice Ken Barlow QC said it was a serious breach of trust that the defendant had used the $219,000 of other people’s money to pay personal debts and benefited from the fraud.

Weighing in on the outcome of the case, commissioner for Fair Trading Victoria Thomson said that the Office of Fair Trading would not tolerate real estate agents spending money that does not belong to the.

She said: “Trust money must never be taken from a trust account without proper authorisation from the person that it belongs to.

“Agents, as well as their employees, cannot use trust money for personal payments or to cover their own business expenses and debts.”

Think Tank management had gone into liquidation in March 2019, after the business was abandoned. Liquidators notified the Office of Fair Trading, which then commenced an investigation into the wrongful use of trust money and froze the trust account.

Affected consumers were reportedly compensated through the Office of Fair Trading Claim Fund.

Qld director cops 3 years jail time for trust fund dishonesty
Brisbane Qld District Supreme Court reb
lawyersweekly logo

Tags:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Grace Ormsby

Grace Ormsby

Grace is a journalist across Momentum property and investment brands. Grace joined Momentum Media in 2018, bringing with her a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) from the University of Newcastle. She’s passionate about delivering easy to digest information and content relevant to her key audiences and stakeholders.

Rankings
rankings
JUST RELEASED
May 09, 2022

REB Top 50 Women in Real Estate 2022

REB is thrilled to present the Top 50 Women in Real Estate 2022 ranking, which sets t ... LEARN MORE

rankings
JUST RELEASED
May 04, 2022

REB Top 100 Agents 2022

Now in its second decade, the REB Top 100 Agents 2022 rankings are the most revered s ... LEARN MORE

rankings
JUST RELEASED
May 02, 2022

REB Top 50 Agents NSW 2022

Even a pandemic has not put the brakes on the unstoppable property market in NSW, whi ... LEARN MORE

rankings
JUST RELEASED
April 27, 2022

REB Top 50 Agents VIC 2022

The COVID-19 crisis has not deterred the property market in Victoria, which has been ... LEARN MORE

rankings
JUST RELEASED
April 25, 2022

REB Top 50 Agents QLD 2022

As the property market continues to roar in Brisbane and Queensland, the REB Top 50 A ... LEARN MORE

Coming up

rankings rankings
Do you have an industry update?

top suburbs

12 month growth
Box Hill
127.02%
Mollymook
82.85%
Brightwaters
79.93%
Cleve
78.13%
Bawley Point
76.2%
Murrays Beach
75.57%
Terranora
70%
Crescent Head
69.38%
Park Ridge South
68.32%
Mollymook Beach
67.09%
SEE AREA REPORTS ON SMART PROPERTY INVESTMENT WEBSITE
Subscribe to Newsletter

Ensure you never miss an issue of the Real Estate Business Bulletin.
Enter your email to receive the latest real estate advice and tools to help you sell.