WA real estate agent gets 15-year-ban for land deal scam

WA real estate agent gets 15-year-ban for land deal scam
WA real estate agent gets 15-year-ban for land deal scam

A real estate salesman in Western Australia has been banned for 15 years from the industry after being found guilty of fraudulent property deals which netted a profit of $5.4 million.

The State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) found Paul Anthony King guilty of 13 breaches of the code of conduct while working as a sales representative for his father’s real estate agency Colin King Real Estate, based in York.

It was operated by The King and I Pty Ltd.

Both Colin and Paul King were ordered to jointly pay $39,000 in costs incurred by Consumer Protection to prosecute them. The SAT did not have jurisdiction to impose a penalty against Colin King and The King and I Pty Ltd as their licences were not renewed by Consumer Protection in August 2014.

The sale of five lots of land occurred between 2008 and 2010 with Colin and Paul King acting as selling agents for three of them and introducing the ultimate buyers in each sale. The lots were first sold to an intermediary company controlled by another of Colin’s sons Michael King who was not a licensed real estate agent or sales representative.

The land lots were then immediately on-sold to Malaysian-based investors at substantially higher prices resulting in a $5.4 million profit that directly benefited Michael King. The original owners and the Malaysian-based investors were not aware of the on-sale arrangements.

The SAT found that the deal resulted in a significant loss to the original owners and Paul King’s ‘extremely dishonest and deceitful’ conduct was at the upper end of the range of seriousness. He had placed his own interests and the interests of related parties ahead of his principal by concealing from the sellers the existence of another buyer willing to pay a premium for the land. The tribunal said his misleading conduct was a fundamental breach of his duty.

The SAT added that Paul King was deliberately untruthful and his evidence was not credible as he sought to minimise his involvement in the deal to conceal his conduct from the tribunal, described as ‘calculated and sustained dishonesty’.

Acting commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the long-term ban reflected the serious nature of the deceptive conduct.

“Paul King failed to act in the best interests of the sellers and the purchaser who became unknowingly involved in a fabricated on-sale scheme which was designed to ensure an intermediary company owned by his brother Michael made massive profits from the sales,” Hillyard said.

“The now proven involvement of his father Colin King in such a web of deceit has vindicated our action in August 2014 not to renew his licence, a decision upheld by the SAT last year.

“The fundamental obligations of the real estate industry’s codes of conduct require agents and sales representatives to act honestly, fairly and in the best interests of their clients at all times and this SAT order shows that there are serious consequences for anyone who breaches those obligations.”

Western Australia Property Fraud

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