Ritzy agent's accounts missing $1/2m

Sarah Dougan, former Belle Property Byron Bay principal
Sarah Dougan, former Belle Property Byron Bay principal

TRUST accounts held by the now defunct Byron Bay real estate agency Belle Property are missing more than half a million dollars, the Department of Fair Trading has revealed.

The department last night called for clients of the agency to come forward, saying its investigation into the property had so far found trust account “deficiencies” of more than $550,000.

Belle Property Byron Bay closed last week and Fair Trading seized the agency’s business records after the Belle Property Group, which franchised the Byron business to Sarah Dougan, contacted the department to say it had found “anomalies” in the agency’s trust accounts.

Belle Property Group has since terminated its franchise agreement with Ms Dougan.

Fair Trading has appointed its own independent manager to oversee the wind-down of the business and has interviewed several people involved with the agency.

No charges have been laid against Ms Dougan, who has returned to Sydney. Ms Dougan’s partly-built home at Skinners Shoot is being sold at a mortgagee auction through the Ballina McGrath agency.

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe urged Belle Byron Bay’s clients to contact the department “as a matter of urgency” on 13 32 20.

“In particular, this applies to anyone who may have booked a holiday rental, purchased a property or entered into a lease,” Mr Stowe said.

Clients who lost money from trust accounts with the agency were able to apply to the Property Services Compensation Fund.

Claims to the fund must be made within 12 months of the client becoming aware of an issue and must be made in writing to the fund’s director general.

More details about the fund are available on the Fair Trading website,

Topics:  byron bay department of fair trading

Further social media reports of shark sightings

A young surfer had a lucky escape after being hit by a shark at Broken Head near Byron Bay. Photo: Twitter - Geoffrey John Knapp.

Man describes the shark incident this morning

Go Fund Me for Amanda Nash to continue to receive donations

A photo of Amanda Nash and her daughter, Bonnie, posted on the GoFundMe fundraising page.

MORE than $68,000 raised for family of woman killed in crash

WATCH: Your North Coast National experiences

Stocking up on show bags (left to right): Tyler Elford, 4; Samantha Elford; Mason Elford, 2; Paige Jackson, 5; Aiden Jackson, 3.

You told us what you liked about the North Coast National

Local Partners

Priscilla concerned people will forget about Elvis

Priscilla Presley source Bang

She says she feels responsible to keep his legacy going

Taylor Swift files lawsuit over alleged groping

Taylor Swift source Bang

Swift has commenced legal action against a DJ over the incident

Kanye West threatens to boycott Grammys

West says he won't go to the Grammys if Frank Ocean's not nominated

Why this actress wasn't embarrassed by nude photo leak

Leslie Jones source Bang

'If you wanna see Leslie Jones naked, just ask,' she said

Federal grant keeps NORPA telling our local stories

ANNOUNCEMENT: NORPA's Producer Marisa Snow, Artistic Director Julian Louis, General Manager Patrick Healy, Chair David Wolff, with Member for Page Kevin Hogan.

Arts company granted almost $400,00 over two years

Dad's Army comic genius Jim Perry dies

Jimmy Perry, the creator of Dad's Army.

Dad's Army series captured all that British people savour

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track