real-estate-agency-guilty
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  • Zhenhua Yang withdrew funds totalling $3,260,000 from Ausco’s real estate trust account
  • Mr Yang was the officer in effective control and sole director of Ausco at the time
  • Trust accounts are established to keep clients’ money separate from general agency business funds

A former real estate agent and agency in Victoria has been convicted of trust account offences.

Zhenhua Yang, also known as Bruce Yang, received an 18-month Community Corrections Order and 300 hours of community service, while Ausco Real Estate Pty Ltd was fined $15,000.

Over an eight-month period, Mr Yang withdrew funds totalling $3,260,000 from Ausco’s real estate trust account and transferred them into another Ausco bank account, before later returning them to the trust account.

Each pleaded guilty to offences causing a deficiency of trust money under the Estate Agents Act 1980.

Mr Yang was the officer in effective control and sole director of Ausco at the time of the offences in 2017.

Trust accounts

Trust accounts are established to keep clients’ money separate from general agency business funds.

Under Section 90 of the Estate Agents Act 1980, estate agents must not cause a deficiency in a trust account.

The accounts are audited on a yearly basis by Consumer Affairs.

Victoria

Consumer Affairs Victoria is currently processing three other estate agents for alleged misuse of clients’ trust money.

During 2020, 117 infringement notices amounting to more than $120,000, as well as official warnings, were handed out to estate agents who did not lodge their trust account audit reports.

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