Stephen L. Fussell, Senior Consumer Protection Officer, has received the 2014 Investigator of the Year Award from the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO®), an international organization.
Fussell’s investigation involved the activities of a real estate broker whose conduct went outside the scope of her employment, without her employer’s knowledge. Fussell obtained evidence that the broker offered to assist a disabled tenant, whose rental unit was being demolished as part of a right-of-way taking by NCDOT, in relocating from the property and convinced the tenant to purchase a property that resulted in a windfall profit, not to the broker, but, in secret, to her close friend. The Commission suspended her real estate license as a result.
Distinguishing Fussell from other real estate investigators was his role as a Consumer Protection Officer (CPO) rather than a field/auditor investigator. Fussell performed his investigation entirely from within the office by letter, telephone, fax, and email, not in person as a field investigator. Most complaints received by the Commission every year are handled by CPO’s, who can complete certain types of cases much faster than a field investigator. Fussell’s knowledge, expertise, and experience enable him to investigate difficult cases without outside field assistance.
Fussell, who has been with the Commission for 23 years, holds an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate degree from Campbell University. He is a licensed real estate broker and a Certified Fraud Examiner.
This article came from the October 2014-Vol45-2 edition of the bulletin.