A real estate sales representative who was convicted of extortion, assault and perverting the course of justice and then failed to inform Consumer Protection has been banned from working in the industry for 10 years by the State Administrative Tribunal.
James Steven Mitsopoulos was deemed to be unfit to hold a certificate of registration which was cancelled. He was first registered in October 2011 and a condition of his registration renewal in May 2017 was that he inform Consumer Protection of the outcome of a pending District Court trial, which he failed to do.
In August 2017, Mr Mitsopoulos was convicted of a threat with intent to gain benefit (extortion) and attempting to pervert the course of justice and received a prison sentence of five-and-a-half years. This related to an incident in the carpark of a business premises in March 2016 when Mr Mitsopoulos and three others verbally abused and threatened the victim, demanding an immediate $50,000 payment. The victim was then forced to sign an acknowledgement of debt amounting to $277,000.
A lifetime violence restraining order was issued by the Court in respect of the victim.
In November 2014 Mr Mitsopoulos had attended a Muay Thai kickboxing tournament in Kingsway with a group of co-offenders associated with an outlaw motorcycle gang. A fight between two rival groups resulted in an assault charge for Mr Mitsopoulos. He was convicted in the District Court and fined $15,000 in February 2016.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said the duration of the ban was appropriate considering the seriousness of the criminal convictions.
“The licensing and registration system aims to ensure that only fit and proper people work in the industry as there needs to be a high degree of trust between the sales agent and their client,” Ms Lipscombe said.
“The disclosure of pending court proceedings or criminal convictions in applications is critical in determining if they are granted or if they are renewed. Failing to do so is a serious breach of the law.
“While having a criminal conviction doesn’t automatically preclude someone from being a successful applicant, the nature of the convictions and when they occurred are factors that are taken into consideration.”