Numurkah estate agent Daniel McNamara has been sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment for trust account offences.
Mr McNamara, 40, pleaded guilty to breaching the Estate Agents Act 1980 by fraudulently using about $155,000 in trust money.
At a Melbourne Magistrates' Court hearing on 30 January, Mr McNamara was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment, with nine months suspended for two years.
The court also ordered him to pay Consumer Affairs Victoria's legal costs. His licence will be cancelled effective 30 days from the date of sentencing.
Mr McNamara has been a licensed estate agent since 2004, and operated First National Real Estate Maurice McNamara and Co in Numurkah. He was the company's officer in effective control.
The court found Mr McNamara had breached Section 91 of the Act when he used trust money to pay bills for day-to-day running of the agency.
By February 2013, the trust account had $155,000 less than it should have contained. When notified of a forthcoming Consumer Affairs Victoria inspection, Mr McNamara repaid about $126,000. He later paid the remaining amount.
Consumer Affairs Victoria prosecuted Mr McNamara after the inspection in March 2013 revealed the extent of the trust account fraud.
Magistrate Mary Kay Robertson said Mr McNamara would have faced two years' imprisonment if he had not pleaded guilty.
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