Former agent pleads guilty to $1 million misappropriation as NSW Fair Trading told to better regulate strata management

Former agent pleads guilty to $1 million misappropriation as NSW Fair Trading told to better regulate strata management
Former agent pleads guilty to $1 million misappropriation as NSW Fair Trading told to better regulate strata management

A former Sydney real estate agent has plead guilty to stealing over $1 million from her strata clients.

Rachael Jena Kwawegen headed a strata management company that collected levies from about 5,500 property owners in 240 Sydney apartment and commercial buildings.

Fairfax Media Domain revealed last year that the boutique strata company, The Strata Agency, was being investigated by NSW Fair Trading over alleged irregularities in its business dealings.

On 29 January 2014, the NSW Fair Trading cancelled the licence and disqualified Kwawegen from holding a licence or certificate for a period of 15 years and disqualified from being involved in the direction, management and conduct of the business of a licensee for a period of 15 years. 

NSW Fair Trading  released a statement saying that: "Licensee Rachael Kwawegen pleaded guilty to breaching section 211 of the Property Stock & Business Agents Act for misappropriating in excess of $1 million of trust fund monies."

She will be sentenced at Parramatta Local Court next month.

But there have been no policy changes from NSW Fair Trading, which operates a property compensation fund to cover any shortfalls in trust funds.

Strata manager David Ferguson, and former president of Strata Community Australia, said the state government should have more controls in place to regulate new strata management companies given new strata management companies are popping up every day at the moment.

“The are new strata management companies popping up every day at the moment,” Ferguson told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“And there’s nothing to stop another The Strata Agency happening again. The money may have been safe but the disruption to people’s lives and chaos this caused was just terrible.”

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

Tags: 
Consumer Affairs New South Wales

Community Discussion

Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?