A former Melbourne real estate agent charged with misusing millions of dollars of clients’ money plans to plead guilty – but his wife will contest the accusations.
Former LJ Hooker agents Tri Duc Ngo and his wife Truc Thanh Le Nguyen are accused of spending more than $2 million of clients’ money kept in trust accounts.
They included keeping client’s deposits for houses, not accounting for rental money deposits and sales.
Ngo will likely plead guilty but his wife will contest the charges, their defence lawyer, Erol Cinar, told the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
“He says he was the one offending … and had access to the trust accounts,” Mr Cinar said on Monday.
“Ms Nguyen will be pleading not guilty.”
Nguyen was the sole director of JNT Law Investments, the operator of six LJ Hooker offices in Glen Waverley, Keysborough, Mount Waverley, Burwood, Doncaster and Box Hill, Consumer Affairs Victoria says.
Her husband Ngo was an employee agent.
LJ Hooker closed the six franchises in April 2016.
Consumer Affairs charged Nguyen with 216 offences and Ngo with 188 in January, but hundreds of additional charges were laid in March, the court heard.
Court documents show Ngo and Nguyen are facing more than 100 fresh charges each.
The charges say Nguyen allegedly knowingly authorised or permitted deficiencies in trust accounts, while Ngo is charged with creating those deficiencies.
Earlier charges state Ngo authorised the transfer of trust monies into bank accounts for “own use”.
Nguyen is charged with allegedly failing to account for lost money.
Ngo and Nguyen will return to court on May 19 for a committal mention.