Vindication after Warilla realtor's guilty plea

Carol Frank felt a sense of closure when Warilla real estate agent Megan Harrod pleaded guilty in Wollongong Local Court two weeks ago to fleecing money from landlords and trust funds to fuel a gambling habit.

For 10 years Ms Frank has hoarded rental receipts after she claimed Harrod attempted to rip her off on two occasions of two weeks' rent in 2005 and 2009.

"When I read the story in the Illawarra Mercury I thought what about the renters, what about the little people," said Ms Frank.

Harrod admitted to fraudulently converting money as a licensee, relating to $1.46 million taken from her company Harrods Real Estate rent trust account and $65,500 taken from the sales trust account between 2010 and 2012. 

The 49-year-old intends to dispute these amounts alleged by NSW Fair Trading at a sentencing hearing in February.

Harrod was dobbed in to the department by her father Jim Harrod and the family has since repaid almost two-thirds of the outstanding money.

Ms Frank's stoush with Harrod was minuscule in comparison but for a single mother who worked two jobs, as a factory worker and supermarket night packer, it was money she could ill afford to lose.

In 2005 after two years of renting the same Barrack Heights unit, Ms Frank's rental receipt suddenly showed she was $480 in arrears. 

When she challenged Harrod she was told that it was because she had used her two weeks in advance rental payment and that when she moved out of the unit the amount was to be deducted from her bond.

"I told her I had every receipt and could prove I had always been on time with my rent," Ms Frank said. "But Megan wouldn't listen. She fobbed me off, she was quite intimidating. 

It was like hitting up against a brick wall. She wouldn't even look at my receipts until I had an accountant go through them and then she backed down."

At first Ms Frank thought it had been a human error, but when the same thing happened in 2009 at a different rental property she began to suspect something more sinister. This time the amount was $360.

"It doesn't sound like much money, but it was money I had worked hard for and again Megan refused to listen to me," Ms Frank said.

"It was a horrible time and very, very stressful because I needed that money. 

Thankfully I had all of my receipts so I could prove I wasn't behind in my rent, but it wasn't easy, I had to fight really hard to get it changed."

The two incidents had such a negative impact on Ms Frank that even today she still keeps the receipts.

"I know that in the end Megan didn't take any money from me, but I believe she tried. 

At least now I have some closure. 

I think I can finally throw these receipts away and be done with it," she said.

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