An Australian estate agent who worked in New Zealand has been charged with fraud in a Queensland court.
Geoffrey James Leadley, 63, who had been working for the Ray White agency in Kerikeri, was arrested when he returned to Australia on Thursday. He appeared in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court on the Sunshine Coast on Friday on three fraud charges relating to about $86,000.
Laura Knox-Whyte, a saleswoman at the Kerikeri agency, said yesterday Leadley was at the Bay of Islands business until late July.
"He contacted us from Australia because we were looking for a salesperson. About three weeks after he started, we got an email from someone in Australia with a Hotmail address, but it had no name, giving us some details of accusations made against him.
"I contacted detectives and people in Australia and we contacted his [Leadley's] accountant as well."
The email had been sent to other real estate agencies in Kerikeri, but not Ray White, although one of the others gave it to Ray White.
"He was immediately suspended once this email went around town and we found out about [the allegations]. Four days later he resigned."
Leadley had sold no properties in the short time he was at Ray White Kerikeri.
The Sunshine Coast Daily reported that the charges concerned anomalies in financial transactions for a number of bodies corporate.
Earlier this year, Leadley, who had arrived in Australia in 2002, closed his ReMax Noosa real estate agency franchise and stated he would move to New Zealand.
His listing on the NZ Real Estate Agents Authority website states he was first entered on the register of agents on May 23. His licence is listed as "active".
Leadley's wife remains in New Zealand.
Acting magistrate Andrew Walker released Leadley on bail. He noted that while the charges were serious and could carry a term of imprisonment if Leadley was found guilty, the defendant had no criminal history, had property in Australia and had agreed to surrender his passport.
He ordered Leadley to report twice a week and not to go within 1km of any international departure point.By Martin Johnston Email Martin