Estate agent Nicolette van Wijngaarden pleads guilty to trust fund fraud

Estate agent Nicolette van Wijngaarden pleads guilty to trust fund fraud
Estate agent Nicolette van Wijngaarden pleads guilty to trust fund fraud

The luxury real estate agent Nicolette van Wijngaarden has pleaded guilty to real estate trust fund fraud.

She will be sentenced next month at the Sydney Downing Centre.

Van Wijngaarden founded Unique Estates in 2009 which specialized in luxury property, particularly around Byron Bay, before the boutique agency expanded across the country.

Fashion designer Collette Dinnigan was caught up in the messy February 2018 collapse of the Unique Estates Australia agency following the sale of her NSW South Coast property.

The 5 percent deposit for Dinnigan's Milton $2.1 million was unaccounted for, with the NSW Fair Trading Department stepped in cover the $105,000 deposit that Vaucluse buyers had paid into the trust fund.

All NSW vendors are covered by the Property Services Compensation Fund.

After the company collapsed in February 2018, van Wijngaarden faced charges following an investigation by forensic accountants.

She faces up to 10 years in prison having allegedly misused $3.69 million.

Her bail included her surrendering her two passports under strict bail conditions.

The agency published the magazine Unique Luxury, which was distributed in Qantas lounges across the country.  

The agency collapsed with restructuring specialists McGrathNicol app­ointed as joint managers by the NSW Department of Fair Trading.

NSW Fair Trading and McGrathNicol reported to creditors that there were "insufficient funds to pay amounts outstanding and in these circumstances there is a statutory compensation fund that may cover your outstanding claims.”

This article was first published in the Daily Telegraph.


Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

Nicolette Van Wijngaarden Unique Estates

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