Westpoint and Carey to pay $133,000 in fines and costs (Westpoint Realty Pty Ltd / Norman Carey)
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The Perth Magistrates Court has given Westpoint Realty Pty Ltd (in liquidation) a $30,000 fine, its Director Norman Phillip Carey a $6,000 fine and ordered him to pay costs of $97,449 for making false or misleading representations to consumers.
While handing down his decision on 12 March 2015, Magistrate Malone denied Mr Carey’s application for a spent conviction.
Mr Carey was found guilty on 11 February 2011 of five charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act in relation to the sale of a residential property development in Rivervale in 2005. The Supreme Court dismissed Mr Carey’s first appeal on 10 January 2012 and the Court of Appeal dismissed a second appeal on 28 August 2013. Westpoint Realty Pty Ltd was also convicted, but did not appeal.
The original trial found that the company, via its agents, misled purchasers of units in the Regent Apartments development by falsely informing them that there had been indefinite delays to the project due to planning approvals. The agents caused purchasers to terminate their contracts of sale, then each of the units were re-sold at a higher price within a short period of time.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll welcomed the decision by the Court.
“Despite Mr Carey’s numerous appeals against the original convictions, our pursuit and defence of this matter has been vindicated by the substantial penalty handed down by the Magistrate and the awarding of our significant legal costs,” Ms Driscoll said.
“It highlights the need for those involved in promoting property to be completely honest in their dealings with clients and potential buyers. Property transactions must be totally transparent and the perpetrators of deception cannot be rewarded and must face the consequences of their actions.
“I hope that the outcome of this Court case acts as a warning to others in the real estate industry who may be tempted to bend or hide the truth for financial gain.”
Two former Westpoint Realty Pty Ltd sales representatives pleaded guilty to related charges in September 2010, were fined $2,000 and $750 respectively and granted spent convictions. A third sales representative, Thomas Haynes, pleaded guilty in December 2010, was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay Court costs of $1,180.
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