A tribunal has cancelled the estate agent licences of Colin Rounds and his company, after it found he used trust money as a line of credit to support his new business.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal cancelled Mr Rounds' and Colin Rounds Real Estate Pty Ltd's licences, effective from 20 November.
It also disqualified them from holding estate agent licences for 12 months and reprimanded Mr Rounds, in orders made on 6 November.
Mr Rounds is also ineligible to act as an agent's representative for six months from 20 November 2013.
The tribunal said it was 'completely unacceptable' for a real estate agent who had experienced hardships to use trust funds to tide a business over, even for a short period.
It found that Mr Rounds' conduct was that of a person who was not fit and proper to practise, and said this conclusion also applied to the company.
The tribunal said there was no more serious breach of an estate agents' professional duties than taking monies held on behalf of clients on trust, and using them for his or her own purposes.
At a hearing on 9 October, the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria alleged that Mr Rounds had used trust money to pay debts associated with his new real estate business, from April 2011 to May 2012.
His sales trust account showed a deficiency during this period and one client was deprived of a $46,900 payment for about three weeks. Mr Rounds reimbursed the client in full in December 2011 and repaid the total trust account deficiency in May 2012.
It is an offence under the Estate Agents Act 1980 for an estate agent to fraudulently convert to their own use any money they receive on behalf of any person in relation to a real estate transaction.
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