Victorian Nationals MP Tim McCurdy allegedly falsified paperwork for the sale of two dairy farms that netted him almost $270,000 in commissions.
The Ovens Valley MP is accused of falsely making himself out to be a licensed real estate agent and misusing the agency name of a former colleague to sell the farms near Cobram in 2009, the year before he was elected to state parliament.
McCurdy is charged with dishonestly pocketing one sales commission worth $163,900. He netted $105,105 through another sale, and it's alleged he tried to obtain that money dishonestly.
The MP's trial in Victoria's County Court on three charges of using false documents, and one charge each of obtaining and attempting to obtain property by deception, began on Wednesday.
Prosecutor Susan Borg said McCurdy became involved with the sale of the two Pinegrove and Malmo properties while working for New Zealand company PGG Wrightson Real Estate.
After that company pulled out of Australia, McCurdy is alleged to have completed the sales using the letterheads of Andrew Gilmour's real estate agency without his knowledge or permission.
Mr Gilmour also previously worked for the New Zealand company.
The court was told Mr Gilmour only found out what was going on when he received a call from a solicitor saying the Pinegrove property was due for settlement.
Ms Borg said Mr Gilmour at this point wanted to preserve his reputation in the community and so authorised the sale to go through his agency, at which point McCurdy received the $105,105 commission.
Mr Gilmour then wrote to McCurdy, saying he was not and never had been an employee, the court was told.
At the same time, Ms Borg said McCurdy was actually employed by a different real estate agency, but proceeded to use Mr Gilmour's name for the sale of the Malmo property.
The court was told the vendors thought McCurdy was working for himself under TTRN Real Estate Cobram, to which the $163,9000 commission was paid.
Defence barrister Ian Hill QC said McCurdy was involved with the sales legitimately with Mr Gilmour's permission and approval.
Mr Gilmour had signed a document relating to the Pinegrove sale five times, Mr Hill said.
"There was no dishonesty or deception," he also said.
He added McCurdy did not make himself out to be a licensed real estate agent.
Rather, McCurdy said he was acting as a sale agent, which was a different role, Mr Hill told the court.
The woman who sold the Pinegrove property told the court: "At all times I thought Tim (McCurdy) was licensed to sell my farm. I had no reason to think otherwise."
McCurdy become a state MP in 2010 when he was elected to represent the seat of Murray Valley, and then won Ovens Valley at the 2014 poll.
The jury is due to return to court on Friday.
Australian Associated Press