01.03.2019 at 02:17
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Former REIA President And Wife Face Charges

Malcolm Gunning and his wife to appear before court on breach of conduct violations.

The former president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) is facing a possible fine, and his wife perhaps jail time, over breaches of trust accounting rules, and his wife for related charges, over her alleged misappropriation of nearly $300,000 between 2012 and 2016.

The NSW Office of Fair Trading (OFT) accused Malcolm's wife Alice of knowingly commissioning a corporate offence by the corporation by fraudulently converting $278,237 which was supposed to be held in trust. This led to OFT prosecuting 5 charges in Parramatta Local Court.

The charges are: being an agent using a service provider not as prescribed, failing to properly supervise persons engaged in business, contravening the rules of conduct of a licensee, failing to cause trust accounts to be audited as required, and fraudulently converting more than $5,000.

Mr Gunning himself is facing one charge of failing to ensure his corporation's trust was properly maintained and audited. He faces a maximum penalty of $5,500.

His case is scheduled for 7 March. Ms Gunnings will be on 21 March.

Ms Gunning's multiple charges mean she could face a maximum of $49,500 fine, or up to 10 years' jail.

The business itself, Guncom Pty Ltd, was fined $3,300 by OFT, and may face more charges. The business has further been accused of failing to have trust account audited, failing to keep a trust account in the correct licensee's name, and failing to comply with requirements related to receipts for trust money.

Mr Gunning said he has his wife are "vigorously defending" against the charges.

He did acknowledge a deficit of as much as $288,000 in the trust account, but that money has been returned.

He also said the earlier problems led to significant changes to how the business operated: "The whole management staff were completely replaced".

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