Estate agent to the stars on $3.5M fraud charges
A REAL estate agent to the stars is facing 15 counts of fraud allegedly involving more than $3.5 million.
Nicolette van Wijngaarden has gone from award-winning agent with an office on the Coast and Byron Bay to facing serious charges in court.
Wijngaarden has faced court and been released on to appear again on November 8.
Five charges relate to fraudulently changing money from a business for personal use which carry a maximum 10-year jail sentence. The remaining 10 fraud charges also carry a 10-year sentence.
Her clients included internationally renowned fashion designer Collette Dinnigan.
"The total quantum of money involved in all charges alleged is in excess of $3.5 million," a spokesman for the NSW Department of Fair Trading said.
"She has been bailed to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court for mention on November 8."
Van Wijngaarden, 44, founded the Byron-based Unique Estates in 2009, opening offices on the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Byron Bay.
Agency listings included ASF's luxury apartments in The AU at Surfers Paradise, a $25 million mansion at Airlie Beach and a $3.6 million home at Robina.
In 2010, Unique Estates won best marketing at the Asia Pacific Property Awards for both Australia and Asia Pacific.
Four years later Unique Estates won the best website, marketing and highly commended in the best agency category.
All staff were sacked via email in February 2018 and by June the business was in liquidation.
There was nothing in the bank and creditors were owed more than $4 million.
A liquidator's report released in September reveals the business owed the Australian Taxation Office $933,000 and the NSW Office of State Revenue $95,000.
Unique Estates also produced magazine Unique Luxury, which was in Qantas frequent flyer lounges across Australia.
Wijngaarden could not be contacted for comment.