One year ban for sales rep over dishonest involvement in land deal

  • Sales rep failed to act honestly and fairly in land sale at Henderson
  • Benjamin Widdowson breached the real estate industry Code of Conduct
  • Financial interest in the sale not disclosed to all parties
  • A Perth real estate sales representative has been reprimanded and disqualified from holding a registration for 12 months by the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) for his dishonest involvement during the sale process in a land deal.

    Benjamin Robert George Widdowson had breached the Code of Conduct for Agents and Sales Representatives by failing to act fairly and honestly during the sale process of a property at the Australian Marine Complex in Henderson.

    Acting in his individual capacity, Mr Widdowson became involved in purchasing a lot in association with Landcorp employee Ben McCarthy. Mr McCarthy was later found to have used inside knowledge to gain financial benefit and had hidden his involvement in the deal.

    The SAT found Mr Widdowson failed to act fairly or honestly during negotiations by failing to disclose his interest in the land sale transaction to Landcorp and disclose his intention to purchase the property.

    Although his failure to disclose his interest was over a short period of time, it included drafting an email to Landcorp on behalf of a third party, removing all reference to himself and Mr McCarthy, as if it was drafted by the third party.

    Mr Widdowson’s real estate sales representative registration expired on 6 April 2020.

    Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said real estate agents and salespeople must be open and honest at all times, from start to finish of the sales process.

    “The Code of Conduct requires that those who are licensed or registered to work in the real estate industry in WA are completely truthful and transparent during the marketing and sale of properties and ensure all material facts are disclosed to all parties,” Ms Chopping said.

    “That didn’t happen in this case so Mr Widdowson has paid the price by being unable to participate in the industry for a 12 month period, along with suffering the adverse impact on his reputation.

    “So any short-term gain through dishonesty can be quickly extinguished by the long-term consequences when the deception is eventually discovered.”

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