Disciplinary Actions – 2009-V40-1

PIERCE P. BARDEN (Wilmington) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Mr. Barden effective April 1, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Barden, a broker associate with a real estate brokerage firm, acted as a buyer or dual agent in three transactions in which he sold lots in an unapproved subdivision. The Commission also found that Mr. Barden drafted addenda between the buyers and sellers in some of these transactions without first being licensed by the North Carolina State Bar as an attorney.

DANIEL G. BARBER (Wilmington) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Mr. Barber effective April 1, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Barber, in late 2004 or early 2005, acted as a buyer or a dual agent in six transactions in which he sold lots in an unapproved subdivision. The Commission also found that Mr. Barber drafted addenda between the buyers and sellers in some of these transactions without first being licensed by the North Carolina tate Bar as an attorney.

CHRISTOPHER DIXON BELL (Raleigh) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the broker license of Mr. Bell effective February 11, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Bell failed to disclose to lenders in several transactions that he reimbursed buyers for their costs and expenses in several transactions by making payments to the buyers directly and outside the closings. The Commission also found that Mr. Bell allowed the HUD closing statements to show that the buyers were paying their costs when in fact they were not.

DEBORAH BIGBY-OBOMANU (Durham) – The Commission revoked the broker license of Ms. Bigby-Obomanu effective January 21, 2009. The Commission found that Ms. Bigby-Obomanu offered to represent buyers as a buyer agent in the purchase of a new home, but failed by the time of making an offer to purchase to have the buyers complete a Buyers Agency Agreement and forged the buyers’ signatures on an agreement form. The Commission also found that Ms. Bigby-Obomanu falsely represented to the buyers that she would rebate $2,500 of her commission to them.

DAVID BORK (Boone) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. Bork for a period of one year effective February 1, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Bork, broker-in-charge of his own licensed real estate firm and project manager and subcontractor for the developer/owner of four lots on which a new construction home had been built, failed to account to a buyer who contracted to purchase the lots for earnest money and other deposits. The Commission also found that Mr. Bork transferred these trust monies from his trust account to his operating account, thereby converting the funds to his own use. The Commission noted that the parties eventually terminated the contract and Mr. Bork promptly refunded the buyer’s earnest money deposit and other payments.

CHAKRABORTY, INC. (Raleigh) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the firm license of Chakraborty, Inc., effective February 11, 2009. The Commission found that Chakraborty, Inc., failed to enter into a written agreement to list and market new construction homes with a separate company which it’s qualifying broker co-owned with a builder. The Commission also found that Chakraborty, Inc., failed to deposit in a trust or escrow account more than $60,000 received as earnest money deposits and failed to account for the funds and to maintain adequate records relating to them.

CHAKRABORTY, MIHIR (Durham) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the broker license of Mr. Chakraborty effective February 11, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Chakraborty failed to enter into a written agreement to list and market new construction homes with a separate company which he co-owned with a builder. The Commission also found that Mr. Chakraborty failed to deposit in a trust or escrow account more than $60,000 received as earnest money deposits and failed to account for the funds and to maintain adequate records relating to them.

CHRISTINA H. CLARK (Charlotte) – By Consent, the Commission permanently revoked the broker license of Ms. Clark effective April 1, 2009. The Commission found that Ms. Clark pled guilty in U. S. District Court to two counts of mortgage fraud conspiracy and two counts of money laundering conspiracy involving a series of real estate transactions.

DAVID DRYE COMPANY, LLC (Concord) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded David Drye Company effective February 11, 2009. The Commission found that David Drye Company, acting as brokers and rental agents for residential rental properties, failed to account for and promptly remit approximately $7,000 in tenant security deposits to another brokerage firm to which apartments had been transferred by the apartments’ management. The Commission noted that, upon its inquiry, David Drye Company accounted for and remitted the money and there is no evidence that David Drye Company misappropriated the funds of others or that any person suffered damage or injury as a result of its conduct.

JEFFRIE PENDERGRASS DECOUX (Knightdale) – The Commission accepted the two-year voluntary surrender of the broker license of Ms. DeCoux effective March 1, 2009. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Ms.DeCoux had violated the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Ms. DeCoux neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

JOHN DOWDY (Fayetteville) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. Dowdy for 90 days effective January 1, 2008. The Commission then stayed the suspension for a probationary period of one year. The Commission found that Mr. Dowdy, as an agent and broker for owners of 500 rental properties, was responsible for posting and balancing errors in trust account records resulting in liabilities exceeding funds on deposit. The Commission noted that Mr. Dowdy undertook to correct the bookkeeping errors and to restore the shortfall, that none of the clients lost money or were inconvenienced as a result, and that the Commission’s audit revealed no defalcation of funds.

NATHALIE HENRIETTE DUEZ (Wrightsville Beach) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Ms. Duez for a period of two years effective April 16, 2009. Three months of the suspension are active with the remainder stayed for a probationary term of 21 months. The Commission found that Ms. Duez was convicted of Driving While Impaired and was placed on 24 months’ supervised probation following a seven-day term of confinement in the county jail and that Ms. Duez failed to respond to letters of inquiry from the Commission concerning her conviction.

DENNIS FESSEL (Charlotte) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the broker license of Mr. Fessel effective May 1, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Fessel pled guilty to and was convicted of the misdemeanor offense of “secret peeping” in 2008.

JOHN M. FOSTER (Henderson) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. Foster for a period of six months effective May 1, 2009. The Commission then stayed the suspension under certain conditions. The Commission found that Mr. Foster sold a residential property without properly recording on the closing statement that he loaned the buyer a portion of the down payment and paid an unlicensed salesman for procuring the buyer for the property. The Commission noted that Mr. Foster subsequently forgave the debt and repaid the money he had received against it.

PAULA L. K. GARCIA (Fayetteville) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Ms. Garcia for 90 days effective January 1, 2008. The Commission then stayed the suspension for a probationary period of one year. The Commission found that Ms. Garcia, as an agent and broker for owners of 500 rental properties, was responsible for posting and balancing errors in the trust account records resulting in liabilities exceeding funds on deposit. The Commission noted that Ms. Garcia undertook to correct the bookkeeping errors and to restore the shortfall, that none of the clients lost money or were inconvenienced as a result, and that the Commission’s audit revealed no defalcations of funds.

WAYNE H. HANKINS (Raleigh) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Mr. Hankins effective April 1, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Hankins, broker-in-charge of a real estate brokerage firm, served in 2006 as a buyer agent through a provisional broker and another broker not yet affiliated with the firm and failed to supervise the provisional broker, who failed to confirm that the buyer received all reports related to structural inspections of the home, which developed major interior and exterior structural problems after the sale.

SCOTT F. HOOKS (Cornelius) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Mr. Hooks effective February 11, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Hooks, broker-in-charge of a company which acted as broker and rental agent for residential rental properties, did not adequately supervise the firm’s brokerage business, including its property management trust accounts. The Commission noted that, upon its inquiry, the firm accounted for and remitted the money entrusted to it and that there was no evidence that Mr. Hooks misappropriated any funds of others or that any person suffered damage or injury.

JOHN M. FOSTER HOMES, INC. (Henderson) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the firm license of John M. Foster Homes for a period of six months effective May 1, 2009. The Commission then stayed the suspension under certain conditions. The Commission found that John M. Foster Homes sold a residential property without properly recording on the closing statement that Mr. Foster loaned the buyer a portion of the down payment and paid an unlicensed salesman for procuring the buyer for the property. The Commission noted that Mr. Foster subsequently forgave the debt and repaid the money he had received against it.

M. TIMOTHY LEADBETTER (Charlotte) – By Consent, the Commission permanently revoked the broker license of Mr. Leadbetter effective March 31, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Leadbetter, broker-in-charge of a real estate brokerage firm, acted as buyer agent in numerous transactions in which he promised buyer rebates outside closing and received commissions and bonuses on closing statements that he rebated to buyers outside closing without disclosure to the lender in the transactions.

JEFFREY A. LEE (Supply) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the broker license of Mr. Lee effective February 25, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Lee failed to disclose on his 2002 application for license reinstatement certain misdemeanor convictions relating to his failure to pay income taxes. The Commission also found that Mr. Lee failed to make his trust account records available for inspection by the Commission upon request.

JOHN E. LITTLEFIELD (Concord) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Mr. Littlefield effective February 11, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Littlefield, who oversaw the rental brokerage business of a real estate firm, failed to account for and promptly remit $7,000 in tenant security deposits to another brokerage firm to which apartments had been transferred by the apartments’ management. The Commission noted that, upon its inquiry, the firm accounted for and remitted the money and there was no evidence that Mr. Littlefield misappropriated any funds of others or that any person suffered damage or injury.

BRIAN ANDREW MCCORKLE (Wilmington) – The Commission accepted the voluntary surrender of the broker license of Mr. McCorkle for a period of two years effective February 11, 2009. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Mr. McCorkle violated provisions of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Mr. McCorkle neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

DANA ELKIN MILLS (Franklin) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Ms. Mills for a period of one year effective March 1, 2009. Two months of the suspension were active with the remainder stayed and Ms. Mills placed on probation for the remainder of the suspension period. The Commission found that Ms. Mills disclosed several criminal convictions on her 2005 application for licensure but failed to disclose a 1994 federal criminal conviction ofPossession of Methamphetamine, Schedule II.

JAMES C. PATE (Fayetteville) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. Pate for a period of six months effective April 1, 2009. One month of the suspension was active with the remainder stayed for a probationary period of five months. The Commission found that Mr. Pate timely reported to the Commission that he was disciplined by the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors for not holding a general contractor’s license at the time he obtained building permits in the name of and without the knowledge of a properly licensed contracting company.

BILLY R. POYTHRESS (Wilson) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the broker license of Mr. Poythress effective May 1, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Poythress, as broker-in-charge of a real estate brokerage firm, failed to adequately supervise an unlicensed employee who misappropriated approximately $340,000 from the firm’s trust account and failed to adequately review the trust account books and records of the firm.

JAMES A. PRIDGEN (Candler) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the broker license of Mr. Pridgen effective April 16, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Pridgen induced timeshare owners in numerous transactions to convey their interests with the promise of payment and then, in some cases, failed to make payments to the sellers. The Commission also found that, in other transactions, Mr. Pridgen induced purchasers to pay money for timeshare interests and then, in some cases, did not transfer or procure timeshares for the purchasers.

SHERRI J. PRIDGEN (Carolina Beach) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Ms. Pridgen for a period of one year effective December 1, 2008. Three months of the suspension were active with the remainder stayed for a probationary period of 20 months. The Commission found that Ms. Pridgen, listed and sold 15 acres of vacant land to Buyer A, and, before closing, acted as dual agent in the sale by Buyer A of 25 lots at $75,000 each to be developed on the property to Buyer B. Ms. Pridgen then listed the 25 lots for Buyer B at $150,000 each. The Commission also found that Ms. Pridgen failed to obtain agency agreements, and drafted addenda to contracts without first being licensed to practice law.

R. E. TOWNSEND & CO. (Wilson) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the firm license of R. E. Townsend & Co. effective May 1, 2009. The Commission found that R. E. Townsend & Co. failed to safeguard the funds of others it held in trust and failed to maintain its trust account records as required such that an unlicensed employee misappropriated approximately $340,000 from the firm’s trust account.

VALERIE PAULETTE RICKS (BAKER) (Selma) – The Commission accepted the permanent voluntary surrender of the broker license of Ms. Ricks effective February 28, 2009. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Ms. Ricks violated provisions of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Ms. Ricks denied misconduct.

JOSE C. RODRIGUEZ (Winston-Salem) – The Commission revoked the broker license of Mr. Rodriguez effective March 15, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Rodriguez, acting as a buyer’s agent in negotiating the purchase of a residential property, failed to account for a $1,000 earnest money deposit from the buyers and failed to remit the money to the buyers promptly when the negotiations failed. The Commission also found that Mr. Rodriguez failed to maintain the buyer’s deposit in a trust or escrow account. Finally, the Commission found that Mr. Rodriguez endorsed a refund check made out to the buyers without their authority and deposited the refund in his personal account.

ROSEWOOD REALTY, INC. (Fayetteville) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the firm license of Rosewood Realty effective August 28, 2008. The Commission found that Rosewood Realty, acting as a buyer agent, received $138,000 from a buyer as purchase money for a house and lot, did not maintain the money in a trust account, and was unable to account for or remit the money when the buyer’s transaction closed. The Commission also found that Rosewood Realty’s qualifying broker and broker-in-charge converted a significant portion of the money to his own use and fabricated bank statements and other records of his trust account transactions to conceal his conversion of the money from the Commission.

JENINE G. SCRUGGS (Southport) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the broker license of Ms. Scruggs effective February 11, 2009. The Commission found that Ms. Scruggs, as broker-in-charge of a real estate brokerage firm in 2005 and 2006, failed to review trust account records, allowing a broker associated with the firm to embezzle approximately $10,000. The Commission also found that in 2006 Ms. Scruggs opened a sole proprietorship, declared herself to be broker-in-charge, and failed to maintain trust account records in accordance with Commission rules, resulting in repeated delays in owners’ receipt of rental proceeds.

JASON A. SIRMON (Cornelius) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. Sirmon for a period of six months effective April 1, 2009. The Commission then stayed the suspension for a probationary period of six months. The Commission found that Mr. Sirmon, broker-in-charge of a real estate brokerage firm office, failed to ensure that all parties under his supervision representing the buyer of a property listed by another office of the firm received clear communication of all surveys and drawings showing that a right-of-way widening project would take away a portion of the property.

REBECCA J. SMITH (Carolina Beach) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Ms. Smith effective April 1, 2009. The Commission found that Ms. Smith, a broker associate with a real estate brokerage firm, acted as a buyer or dual agent in 14 transactions in which she sold lots in an unapproved subdivision. The Commission also found that Ms. Smith drafted addenda between the buyers and sellers in some of these transactions without first being licensed by the North Carolina State Bar as an attorney.

DONALD E. SPAKE (Hickory) – The Commission accepted the permanent voluntary surrender of the broker license of Mr. Spake effective February 12, 2009. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Mr. Spake violated provisions of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Mr. Spake neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

JEANETTE G. SYPRZAK (Asheville) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Ms. Syprzak effective March 1, 2009. The Commission found that Ms. Syprzak listed a house with a septic system that had previously been the subject of a neighbor’s complaint to the county health department, the health inspector claimed he orally informed Ms. Syprzak of a potential issue to be addressed if the home were ever occupied, and the owners’ letter was presented to purchasers stating there had been a complaint but that the inspector found no problem with the system. The Commission found that the system failed after closing and was draining onto the neighbor’s property. The Commission noted that Ms. Syprzak and her firm paid approximately $13,500 in compensation to the purchasers for the expense in connecting the system to the City Sewer to resolve a civil dispute. Ms. Syprzak neither admitted nor denied misconduct but did not contest the maintenance of this case based on these facts and considerations.

TIMESHARES LIQUIDATORS, LLC (Weaverville) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the firm license of Timeshares Liquidators effective April 16, 2009. The Commission found that Timeshares Liquidators induced timeshare owners in numerous transactions to convey their interests with the promise of payment and then, in some cases, failed to make payments to the sellers. The Commission also found that, in other transactions, Timeshares Liquidators induced purchasers to pay money in return for receiving timeshare interests and then, in some cases, did not transfer to or procure timeshares for the purchasers.

TIMOTHY CLINE REALTY, INC. (Charlotte) – By Consent, the Commission permanently revoked the firm license of Timothy Cline Realty effective March 31, 2009. The Commission found that Timothy Cline Realty acted as buyer agent in numerous transactions in which it promised buyer rebates outside closing and received commissions and bonuses on closing statements that it rebated to buyers outside closing without disclosure to the lender in the transactions.

TOWNSEND PROPERTY GROUP, LLC (Monroe) – The Commission permanently revoked the firm license of Townsend Property Group effective March 9, 2009. The Commission found that Townsend Property Group received $58,000 from an investor to use for earnest money deposits and failed to account for or to remit the money when requested by the investor, failed to deposit and maintain the funds in an account designated trust or escrow, converted the investor’s funds for personal use, failed to answer four letters of inquiry from the Commission, and failed to supply records to the Commission about its handling of the investor’s funds when requested to do so.

ROBERT C. TOWNSEND (Naples, FL) – The Commission permanently revoked the broker license of Mr. Townsend effective March 9, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Townsend, qualifying broker and broker-in-charge of his own firm, received $58,000 from an investor to use for earnest money deposits and failed to account for or to remit the money when requested by the investor, failed to deposit and maintain the funds in an account designated trust or escrow, and as broker-in-charge failed to ensure the proper maintenance of a firm trust or escrow account. The Commission also found that Mr. Townsend converted the investor’s funds for his personal use, failed to answer four letters of inquiry from the Commission, and failed to supply records to the Commission about his handling of the investor’s funds when requested to do so.

WILLIAM KARL TROTH (Wilmington) – The Commission accepted the voluntary surrender of the broker license of Mr. Troth for a period of six months effective February 11, 2009. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Mr. Troth violated provisions of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Mr. Troth neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

NATHANIEL A. WALKER (Fayetteville) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the broker license of Mr. Walker effective August 28, 2008. The Commission found that Mr. Walker, acting as a buyer agent, received $138,000 from a buyer as purchase money for a house and lot, did not maintain the money in a trust account, and was unable to account for or remit the money when the buyer’s transaction closed. The Commission also found that Mr. Walker converted a significant portion of the money to his own use and fabricated bank statements and other records of his trust account transactions to conceal his conversion of the money from the Commission.

JOSEPH CARL WALLACE (Fayetteville) – The Commission revoked the broker license of Mr. Wallace effective March 9, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Wallace was convicted in 2008 of three counts of altering an automobile title, and one count of altering an automobile title and once count of obtaining a driver’s license by fraud. These offenses occurred in 2004 and 2005. The Commission also found that Mr. Wallace replied only once to multiple Letters of Inquiry from the Commission and failed to provide the Commission with a full and fair disclosure of all of the information requested.

TRAVIS L. WESTRY (Raleigh) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the broker license of Mr. Westry effective April 16, 2009. The Commission found that Mr. Westry failed to confirm that a buyer he was assisting in the purchase of a home received a Ram Jack assessment report Mr. Westry had ordered and which recommended the installation of additional structural supports for a total cost of almost $5,000 and that, after the sale, the property developed major interior and exterior structural problems. The Commission also found that Mr. Westry purchased five homes in a five-month period and financed the purchases with loans that specified that the homes would be owner-occupied.

RONALD DUANE WHITE (Littleton) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the broker license of Mr. White effective February 1, 2009. The Commission found that in August 2008 Mr. White pled guilty in United States District Court to one count of Bank Fraud, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison to be followed by a term of three years of supervised probation and ordered to pay $2,442,048.63 in restitution to Branch Banking and Trust Company.

This article came from the May 2009-Vol40-1 edition of the bulletin.