A real estate agent in Sydney’s Inner West has pleaded guilty to dishonestly claiming more than $210,000 from the NSW Rental Bond Board.
Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said Matthew Thomas Williams, 36, was sentenced in the Parramatta Local Court to two 15 month jail terms, for dishonestly claiming the refund of 42 rental bonds.
The jail terms were suspended on the condition that Williams enter a good behaviour bond. He was also disqualified from holding a real estate licence for a period of 10 years.
Mr Kean said Williams had accessed his clients’ details and directed the bond refunds into his own bank accounts.
“For almost two years, Williams used his position of trust to claim the rental bonds of tenants, and used the money primarily for gambling,” Mr Kean said.
“This was a planned and ongoing act of deception that was uncovered and reported to Fair Trading by his employer after a tenant requested a bond refund.
“This kind of behaviour is utterly reproachable. It erodes the trust between real estate agents and tenants and general trust across the industry.”
Williams fraudulently accessed the bonds while working at real estate agencies based in Glebe, Darlinghurst and Double Bay.
As a holder of a Real Estate Licence, Williams had access to the Rental Bonds Online system that enabled him to lodge rental bonds on behalf of his agency’s tenants, and then later claim the refund.
He was convicted and sentenced for two offences of fraud under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
The affected tenants have had their bonds re-lodged or are in the process of being re-lodged with the Rental Bond Board.
Williams has the right to lodge an appeal.