The director of a strata company who defrauded his clients of more than $67,000 has lost his appeal in the Parramatta District Court.
Jason Christopher Hext of Strataco Strata Pty Ltd was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment on 8 April 2015, after being found guilty of fraud involving the management of seven strata plans, each of which had individual trust accounts.
Mr Hext was convicted of transferring funds out of these trust accounts for his own personal use and for the use of his wife.
On 28 July 2015 the Parramatta District Court dismissed Mr Hext’s appeal against the severity of his sentence.
Instead, the District court took the view a stronger sentence was required to recognise the objective seriousness of the offence and to generally deter others, noting Mr Hext had shown no remorse or acknowledgment of his offending.
Mr Hext’s sentence of 12 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of seven months was consequently overturned.
The sentence was increased to 18 months imprisonment, to be served by home detention, with a 12 month non-parole period.
The District Court also confirmed the orders of the Local Court which require the defendant to pay $67,609.67 to the Director-General of Property Services Compensation Fund.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said strata managers misappropriating trust account funds would continue to be targeted by the department.
“Consumers living under strata law are entitled to feel confident the significant sums of money they pay to managers to look after their building’s common assets are kept securely in designated trust accounts and the money is used for the intended purposes,” Mr Stowe said.
What do you think? Is 18 months home detention a justifiable sentence for the crime?