Nicolette van Wijngaarden.
Nicolette van Wijngaarden. Cathy Adams

High-flying real estate agent forced to surrender passports

THE former director of a failed Byron Bay-based luxury real estate agency has been ordered to surrender her two passports under strict bail conditions over five counts of fraud.

In September NSW Fair Trading launched criminal action against former Unique Estates director Nicolette van Wijngaarden over the alleged misuse of more than $3.5 million.

Ms van Wijngaarden, 44, faces 10 counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception, and a related five counts of directors' liability by offences of corporation.

Unique Estates spectacularly collapsed overnight in February with recorded liabilities of more than $1.5 million, including $933,000 owed to the Australian Tax Office.

The Dutch-born van Wijngaarden was the founder sole director of the once high-flying company, which operated from six locations including Sydney, Melbourne and Byron Bay, and specialised in the marketing of multi-million dollar trophy properties.

Under strict bail conditions she has now been ordered to surrender her Australian and Netherlands passport.

Currently residing in Elwood in Melbourne, she has also been ordered to report once a week to St Kilda Police Station.

A brief of evidence in the matter was due on November 2.

Ms van Wijngaarden was excused from appearing in court on Friday when the matter came up for mention in Sydney Downing Centre.

The matter was adjourned for charge certification on January 31 to return to the Sydney Downing Centre Local Court.

Ms van Wijngaarden is also excused from appearing on that date.