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Woman whose cash, passport went missing vows to keep pressure on Westpac

Rowheya Pleming refused to accept Westpac’s offer of a new passport and $3000.

ROWHEYA Pleming is refusing to give up her David and Goliath battle with Westpac.

Ms Pleming placed $30,000 in cash, the title deeds to her Claremont Meadows home and her passport in a Safe Custody Packet at Westpac’s St Marys branch in March 2010.

The following year she also placed an additional $20,000 in the envelope, marked with her name and her address.


When she returned to the branch in January 2014 she was told the envelope had already been collected. The bank couldn’t say by who because it had “lost” the Safe Custody Register Sheet.

However, further searching did eventually produce a packet the bank said belonged to Ms Pleming — it had simply been filed under the wrong letter, the teller told her. But Ms Pleming says it was different.

St Marys Westpac branch gave Rowheya Pleming’s envelope of valuables to somebody else, she claims.

St Marys Westpac branch gave Rowheya Pleming’s envelope of valuables to somebody else, she claims.Source:News Corp Australia

She was given a written statement saying: “The bank is not responsible for anything that is in the safe security envelopes.” Ms Pleming then contacted the fraud squad.

Public Defender has spoken to the detective who investigated the case, who said that while he had little doubt Ms Pleming was telling the truth, after questioning the bank there was insufficient evidence.

Ms Pleming also took her case to the Financial Ombudsman. As the contents of the packet could not be established, the report said no action could be taken.

Six months ago Westpac offered to pay for a new passport and $3000 cash “without admission of liability”. Ms Pleming refused.

Westpac said it couldn’t discuss the specifics of the case because of customer confidentiality. “A full independent review and police investigation has been completed, and the bank was found not responsible,” a spokeswoman said.

Ms Pleming says she won’t give up.



PROMINENT businessman, real estate agent and political wannabe Barry Goldman is now behind bars — serving a three-and-a-half year sentence for a $670,000 trust account fraud.

Unfortunately the case of Goldman, ­reported earlier this week by The Daily Telegraph, is not isolated.

A further 10 agents, some of them once pillars of the community, have been nabbed by NSW Fair Trading since the start of last year.

Barry Goldman.

Barry Goldman.Source:News Limited

Maryellen Saul.

Maryellen Saul.Source:News Limited

Between them, almost $3.3 million worth of home buyers’ deposits have been collectively misappropriated.

And a 12th accused agent will be back in Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday.

Maryellen Saul, the public face of LJ Hooker North Sydney, stands accused of fraudulently converting money. She will be back in court on February 6 next year. She is currently out on bail.

Still serving a two-year sentence via intensive correctional order is former real estate agent Megan Harrod, the ex-wife of NRL great Kevin Hastings and mother of Roosters playmaker Jackson Hastings.

Convicted of “fraudulently converting” more than $600,000 to feed a $10 million gambling addiction.

Shaun Crockford, the former principal of Wiseberry Real Estate in Kellyville, received the same sentence as Harrod in March this year and another notable, Alan Temelkov, director of AMJ Properties in Narwee, copped an 18-month prison sentence via intensive correctional order in September for misappropriating $285,545.

NSW Fair Trading has just begun a review into laws governing the real estate sector, which in NSW alone is worth more than $15 billion a year. A top priority for the consumer regulator? You guessed it. Misuse of trust account money.

The Barry Goldman who is the subject to this report is not the licensed real estate agent Barry Ian Goldman of Sydney Sotheby’s International Realty, Double Bay, NSW.

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