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13 February 2020

Housing & Property

Realtor convicted of fraud to serve 12 months intensive correction order

The former director of Guncom Pty Ltd, Ms Alice Gaye Gunning, was today convicted of four breaches of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 and will serve a 12-month intensive correction order in addition to fines totalling $1,150.

The sentence was the result of a NSW Fair Trading investigation, initiated after it was discovered that a Guncom employee had misappropriated rental bond money. The investigations lead to charges being brought against Ms Gunning and Guncom Pty Ltd.

Ms Gunning pleaded guilty to three offences including: failing to have her business’ trust account audited, failing to properly supervise staff, and breaching the rules of conduct under the Act. Ms Gunning pleaded not guilty to a fourth alleged offence of being knowingly concerned as a director of a company that fraudulently converted $98,800 of trust money.

After a two day hearing before Magistrate Hockey at Parramatta Local Court, Ms Gunning was found guilty of the fourth offence.

Magistrate Hockey convicted Ms Gunning of each offence and sentenced her to an intensive correction order with conditions, including supervision by Sydney Community Corrections and 150 hours of community service work.

Valerie Griswold, NSW Fair Trading Executive Director, Investigations and Enforcement, said managing a trust is a serious responsibility and today’s decision sends a strong message to real estate agents.

“Monies held in trust are working funds that underpin every real estate business and must be handled in accordance with the applicable legislation,” Ms Griswold said.

“A trust is there to protect each party involved in a transaction and the integrity of your business depends on how well you manage your trust.”

Ms Gunning’s real estate licence was previously cancelled in February 2018 for a period of four years.

In September 2019, Guncom Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty to three offences and was subject to a conditional release order for a period of two years.

Ms Gunning has the right to appeal.

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