Newport agent Michael Edwards gets longest trust fund fraud sentence

Newport agent Michael Edwards gets longest trust fund fraud sentence
Newport agent Michael Edwards gets longest trust fund fraud sentence

Newport, Sydney real estate agent Michael Raoul Edwards has been sentenced to three years jail for trust fund fraud.

It is the longest term given for the crime in NSW.

He was sentenced in Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday to three years in jail with a non-parole period of two years.

Edwards, a former director of real estate agency Pittwater Property Management, Barrenjoey Road, Newport, had pleaded guilty to misappropriating about $400,000 in trust funds.

He ran the business for a decade.

Under the Property, Stock & Business Agents Act 2002, real estate licensees must hold clients' funds in a trust account.

NSW Fair Trading's investigations started in 2013.

He has also been disqualification as a director under the act for eight years.

"Dodgy agents are on notice - I'm putting consumers first," Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said.

NSW Fair Trading said no trust fund records were found at Pittwater Property Management, trading as Edwards & Orr, but through the reconstruction of the company's business and co-operation from former clients, they established the fraud.

According to his live LinkedIn account, Edwards was an agent with LJ Hooker for eight years from 1996.

He recently founded a real estate agency community online platform called Local Agent Sites last month.

His application for bail was denied with his appeal will be be heard later this year.

The next biggest jail term for trust fund fraud in NSW after Edwards' sentence was a two year jail term for a Pyrmont agent who defrauded more than $800,000 last year, according to NSW Fair Trading.

The next highest was when former agents Phillip Chau, Roger and Gordana Ocvirk and Mark Kolodynski were jailed for 18 month terms after frauds of between $330,000 to $1.4 million.

Tags: 
Fraud Trust Fund

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