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Byron Shire
April 17, 2021

Unique Estates founder pleads guilty to fraud

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The founding director of Byron’s now-defunct high-end real estate agency, Unique Estates, has pleaded guilty to fraud and will be sentenced in the NSW District Court.

Appearing in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court on Thursday, Ms Wijngaarden entered pleas of guilty to just two of the original 15 charges she faced.

She pleaded guilty to one count of being an accessory to an offence committed by a corporation, and one county of fraudulently converting money as a licensee.

The other 13 charges, laid after an extensive investigation by forensic accountants, were withdrawn by prosecutors.

Court documents tendered previously show that the 44-year-old former Byron resident is now living in the well-to-do inner-city Melbourne suburb of Elwood.

She has had to hand in both her Australian and Dutch passports as a condition of bail, and is forbidden from entering any international airport or other point of departure from Australia.

She is also required to report to St Kilda police station once a week.

In a statement to The Echo at the time she was charged, the Department of Finance said ‘the total quantum of money involved in all charges alleged is in excess of $3.5 million’.

Unique Estates was founded by Ms Van Wijngaarden in Byron Bay in 2009 as a boutique agency dealing with luxury properties.

It expanded significantly in the ensuing years to include offices in Albert Park, Double Bay, the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Hong Kong.

The agency also published the magazine Unique Luxury, which was distributed in Qantas lounges across the country.

Echonetdaily previously reported that Nicolette Van Wijngaarden was set to face trial. We have now learned that is not the case.


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1 COMMENT

  1. Funny isn’t it. Defraud Centrelink of that amount and they’d lock you up and throw the key away. But living in a nice suburb with little restriction, and most charges dropped. One rule for the rich…

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