Court tells Malcolm Gunning that real estate trust accounts are sacred

Court tells Malcolm Gunning that real estate trust accounts are sacred
Court tells Malcolm Gunning that real estate trust accounts are sacred

A real estate company directed by Malcolm Gunning, the former president of the Real Estate Institute of NSW and the Real Estate Institute of Australia, has been convicted over the management of its trust accounts.

The company behind Gunning Real Estate was convicted of not auditing a trust account as required by NSW magistrate Richard Funston.

The company was put on a two-year conditional release order.

It was also ordered to pay $10,000 in professional and legal fees for Fair Trading who took the matter to court on earlier occasions.

Two further charges against the company, relating to a trust account not being kept in the company’s name and failure to comply with receipt requirements for trust money, were dismissed.

Domain reported prosecutor Ian Fraser told the court that one charge against Mr Gunning himself, for being a licensee who contravened the rule of conduct, was withdrawn.

Fair Trading accuses Mr Gunning of failing to maintain his own agency’s trust accounts amid allegations his wife, Alice Gunning, misappropriated $200,000 over four years.

Court records show that Mrs Gunning, a former director of Guncom, faces five charges.

She is scheduled to appear in court in November.

Defence lawyer Iain Todd said Mr Gunning was unaware of the trust account’s deficits.

Todd argued that all the charges against the company be dismissed due to the reprimand, fine and media coverage earlier this year.

Mr Gunning had quickly rectified the problem when it came to his attention, the court was told.

But the magistrate, noting he was extremely impressed with the action taken by Mr Gunning, felt a conviction must be recorded.

“We all know in real estate … trust accounts are sacred,” he said. “That’s the cornerstone and that has to be acknowledged.”

Mr Gunning was president of the Real Estate Institute of NSW between 2014 to 2016 and president of Real Estate Institute of Australia from December 2016 to late 2018.

He faced Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday, over charges against company Guncom, of which he is now the sole director.

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Malcolm Gunning Trust Account

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