Carrum Downs man Garry Edward Broughton has been convicted and placed on a nine month community based order to complete 100 hours of unpaid community service after appealing his sentence for breaches of the Conveyancers Act 2006.
The Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria, Dr Claire Noone, took action against Mr Broughton, 56, and his company, Baycity Group Pty Ltd (ACN 130 580 488) as they had failed to heed warnings to stop operating as unlicensed conveyancers.
In Frankston Magistrates’ Court in August, Mr Broughton and his company each pleaded guilty to breaching the Conveyancers Act 2006 (the Act) by:
- carrying on a conveyancing business without being licensed
- making representations the company was licensed under the Act to carry on a conveyancing business
- failing to comply with a statutory notice to provide documentation to a Consumer Affairs Victoria inspector.
Mr Broughton and his company were convicted and fined $10,000 each. Mr Broughton was also sentenced to a 12-month jail term. Mr Broughton appealed his sentence at the County Court of Victoria and on 20 October 2011, the appeal was allowed and the orders of the Magistrate Betts of 4 August 2011 were set aside. Mr Broughton was convicted and sentenced to a community based order to complete unpaid community service work. The company did not appeal the sentence.
Between 14 May and 9 November 2010, the company and Mr Broughton acted as a conveyancer on behalf of vendors and purchasers in relation to the sale of four properties.
The Carrum Downs-based company also continued to represent on its letterhead and faxes that it was a licensed conveyancer under the Conveyancers Act 2006.
The Business Licensing Authority and Consumer Affairs Victoria gave Mr Broughton ample opportunity to meet legislative requirements, after the licensed conveyancer and director left the business in February 2010.
The company continued to operate after the Business Licensing Authority cancelled its licence. Consumer Affairs Victoria investigated complaints made about the company; Mr Broughton evaded Consumer Affairs Victoria inspectors when they went to visit his business to request documents in person.
Operating a conveyancing business without being licensed carries a maximum penalty of two years jail or a fine of $29,313.