A former Ballarat real estate agent will be taken to court accused of misusing millions of dollars in trust money.
According to a media release from Consumer Affairs Victoria, Richard Michael Hayden, 51, will face the Melbourne Magistrates' Court in February, charged with a number of financial offences from between February 2019 and June 2019.
It's alleged Hayden, formerly head of family business Hayden Real Estate as well as director and officer in effective control of Skyline Developments Pty Ltd, wrongfully converted more than $770,000 of trust account money to his own use.
It's also alleged he caused "nearly $1.6 million in trust account deficiencies".
"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," the media release states.
"Our inspectors seized 36 sale files in January 2019 and issued a statutory notice to Skyline Developments to provide further trust account records."
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.
The Minister for Consumer Affairs froze two trust accounts in March 2019, with an order Skyline cease carry on its business.
A statutory manager was appointed to wind down the business.
The media release alleges Hayden:
Hayden Real Estate operated in Ballarat for more than 90 years - it first opened in 1928, with the Sturt Street office closing following the beginning of the Consumer Affairs Victoria investigation in 2019.
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