Real estate agent admits fraud

Suppression has lifted on a real estate agent who has today admitted a $149,094 fraud charge related to the Izone development in Rolleston.

Shirley Anne Johnston, 66, admitted one representative charge of obtaining the money by deception. She had originally faced 13 charges but the Crown consolidated them into one charge before she pleaded at the Christchurch District Court.

Judge David Saunders remanded her for sentencing on September 20. He asked for a pre-sentence report that will assess her and her Wanaka address for a home detention sentence.

Johnston’s partner, Steven Rolf Gubb, 62, who was a property consultant on the project, has already been jailed for two years nine months for his role in the fraud. He had a previous similar conviction.

Gubb was employed by Hughes Developments Ltd which was managing an industrial park known as Izone, in Rolleston, for the Selwyn District Council.

The Serious Fraud Office said Gubb was employed to sell Izone land, leases, and design and build packages, but if a real estate agent introduced a purchaser to the property they would receive the commission.

Between March 2007 and July 2015 Gubb arranged for an Johnston’s real estate office to receive 13 commission payments worth $300,828, and then she was paid a share of the commission through them, which totalled $149,094.

However the Serious Fraud Office found that 10 of the sale and purchase agreements for the 13 sales in question were shown as “Sale by Private Treaty”, but a commission invoice was generated and submitted for payment by Gubb. In 13 cases the purchasers did not know the real estate agent in any capacity.

Johnston remains on bail for her sentencing.

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