A former real estate agent from Sydney's northern beaches will spend up to three years behind bars after stealing more than $400,000 from his clients.
Michael Raoul Edwards pleaded guilty earlier this year to the misappropriation of more than $400,000 in funds from his Newport real estate agency Pittwater Property Management Pty Ltd, trading as Edwards & Orr, the NSW government said on Thursday.
He was sentenced in Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday to three years in jail with a non-parole period of two years.
NSW Fair Trading began investigating the activities of Edwards and his company in 2013 and says it uncovered prolonged and systematic deception, breaching the trust of business colleagues and consumers.
It discovered more than $380,000 fraudulently converted from trust funds and nearly $23,000 dishonestly obtained.
Edwards was in January disqualified from being involved in the direction, management or conduct of the business of a licensee under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act for eight years.
His sentence is a reminder to real estate agents that dishonest behaviour won’t be tolerated, says NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean.
“Dodgy agents are on notice – I’m putting consumers first,” Mr Kean said in a statement on Thursday.
“You can’t engage in corrupt or dubious behaviour and expect to get away with it.”
Edwards has appealed the sentence which will be heard at the District Court for appeal later this year.