The Officer in Effective Control of a former western suburbs estate agency has narrowly avoided an immediate jail term, after being convicted of misusing his clients' money.
Amit Miglani, the Officer in Effective Control of the now defunct MIG Real Estate, must undergo a Community Corrections Order for a period of 18 months, with the special condition that he perform 300 hours of unpaid community work.
He pleaded guilty to the offences, which were in breach of the Estate Agents Act 1980.
Mr Miglani, 43, of Abbotsford, made 22 withdrawals of his company's clients' trust account funds, totaling almost $100,000, between November 2017 and July 2018.
At the time, he was the Officer in Effective Control of SNM Properties Pty Ltd (ACN 153 574 362), trading as MIG Real Estate. The agency's offices, in Footscray, Somerton, Derrimut and the Melbourne CBD, closed in September 2018.
Mr Miglani pleaded guilty at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court to two charges:
- Between 14 November 2017 and 26 July 2018, he withdrew money from SNM's trust account, causing a deficiency of $55,000.
- Between 13 November 2017 and 19 July 2018, he fraudulently converted $42,649 of trust money to his own use.
We investigated Mr Miglani and his agency following complaints from consumers. Money lost by Mr Miglani's clients has been refunded by the Victorian Property Fund.
SNM Properties' corporate estate agent's licence and Mr Miglani's individual licence have both been cancelled.
Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria, Nicole Rich, said the outcome served as a strong reminder that money in an agent's trust account belongs to other people, not the agent, and Consumer Affairs Victoria will take action against agents who misuse client funds.
Consumer Affairs Victoria is currently prosecuting five estate agents for alleged misuse of clients' trust money.
Consumer Affairs Victoria also handed out 117 infringement notices amounting to more than $120,000 and official warnings to estate agents who did not lodge their trust account audit reports during 2020.