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15-year ban for ‘extremely dishonest’ real estate agent

By Tim Neary
15-year ban for ‘extremely dishonest’ real estate agent
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An “extremely dishonest and deceitful” former real estate salesman has been banned for 15 years after being found guilty of serious misconduct relating to the sale of five properties that netted a $5.4 million profit.

The State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) found Paul Anthony King, of York, Western Australia, committed 13 breaches of the Code of Conduct while working as a sales representative for his father’s real estate agency Colin King Real Estate, operated by The King and I Pty Ltd, the Department of Commerce said in a statement.

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 that Paul King’s “extremely dishonest and deceitful” conduct (concealing from the sellers that another buyer was willing to pay a premium for the land) was at the upper end of the range of seriousness.

The SAT said 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,” Mr Hillyard said.

Mr Hillyard said the proven involvement of his father Colin King in the scheme has vindicated the SAT’s action in August 2014 not to renew his licence. As reported earlier in REB, this was after his sons, Paul and Michael, were charged with fraudulently obtaining $6.3 million in the $17 million sale of six rural properties between 2008 and 2011.

The men were accused of buying the properties on behalf of international vendors but misrepresented the price offered and funnelled the excess profits through shelf companies. Later, a fourth man, Colin King’s son Darren, was added to the charge sheet.

In 2015, according to The West Australian, the charges in that case were discontinued after the prosecution concluded there was no reasonable prospect of convictions.

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