A Mount Martha-based estate agent must repay approximately $69,000 in compensation after pleading guilty to charges including ‘fraudulent conversion’ – that is, using clients’ money that should have been held in a trust account, for company and personal expenses. Paul Wayne Pfeiffer, 46, was also fined $25,000 and sentenced to a two-year community corrections order.
Consumer Affairs Victoria took action against Mr Pfeiffer, the director of estate agency Melbourne Deluxe Real Estate Pty Ltd (trading as Melbourne Deluxe), for this and other breaches of the Estate Agents Act 1980, following a complaint received in October 2016.
The complaint alleged that deposit money had not been paid to a vendor after the sale of a property. Our inspectors then visited the business three times to view trust accounts and seize files.
The court heard that between April and May 2016:
- the company misappropriated approximately $245,000 of trust money and fraudulently converted it for its own use, and
- Mr Pfeiffer knowingly authorised or permitted the company to engage in this conduct.
The company is no longer in operation.
Mr Pfeiffer must pay the outstanding approximate amount of $69,000 to the Victorian Property Fund, which compensated those consumers affected by his offending.