Consumer Affairs Victoria is taking former real estate agent Richard Michael Hayden, 56, to court for allegedly causing nearly $1.6 million in trust account deficiencies.
We also allege that Mr Hayden, of Torquay, the former Director and Officer In Effective Control of Skyline Developments Pty Ltd (ACN 004 739 100), wrongfully converted more than $770,000 of trust account money to his own use.
The alleged offences took place between 14 January 2018 and 7 June 2019.
Many consumers have been affected by the alleged offending. The Victorian Property Fund reimburses consumers who have lost money through the actions of licensed real estate agents. Over $400,000 in claims have been repaid to date.
Our inspectors reviewed Skyline Developments’ trust accounts after receiving five complaints in late 2018 from consumers whose deposit money had not been paid following settlement, or who had not been reimbursed following the cancellation of a contract of sale.
Our inspectors seized 36 sale files in January 2019 and issued a statutory notice to Skyline Developments to provide further trust account records.
Two of Skyline’s trust accounts were frozen by the Minister for Consumer Affairs in March 2019. The Minister also directed that the company cease carrying on its business as an estate agent and appointed a statutory manager to wind down the business.
It is alleged that, while acting as Officer In Effective Control, Mr Hayden:
- caused deficiencies totalling $1,593,926 in trust money on 50 occasions between 18 February 2018 and 7 June 2019
- fraudulently converted to his own use a total of $770,067 in trust money received and held by Skyline Developments on 98 occasions between 14 January 2018 and 25 January 2019.
The matter is listed for a committal mention on 31 January 2022 in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.