Victorian Consumer Affairs and the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) have warned against real estate agents dealing with a conman, who appears to be travelling across the country.
Mark William Whittingham has been at the centre of several investigations by Victorian Consumer Affairs into his numerous businesses, including Buy a Trail and Connection Blue.
Most recently, Melbourne Magistrates’ Court has confirmed an interim injunction restraining Mr Whittingham and his business, Connection Blue Pty Ltd, and ordered the defendants to pay more than $5,000 in costs.
According to a release by Consumer Affairs, Mr Whittingham had sent unsolicited emails to real estate agents, advertising rent rolls for sale through his business.
Meanwhile, NSW Fair Trading commissioner Rod Stowe, via the REINSW website, has warned agents against dealing with Mr Whittingham.
“I am sure it seems to agents that we are always wagging our Fair Trading finger in their direction,” he wrote. “We’re either warning them to abide by their licensing requirements, reminding them to behave in an honest and ethical manner, or heralding a crackdown on compliance. Usually, our messages are well-heeded, with most agents doing the right thing by their clients.
“This month I’m warning again, but this time it is the agents themselves who are in danger of falling victim to unethical practices.
“In recent months, a Melbourne-based company, Connection Blue Pty Ltd, and its proprietor, Mark William Whittingham, have been sending unsolicited emails to real estate agents in Victoria, advertising rent rolls for sale.
“Now it appears Mr Whittingham has expanded his operation across the border to New South Wales.”
The Victorian Magistrates’ Court ordered Mr Whittingham to pay costs of $5,076 (including $700 costs previously ordered on 30 April).
Mr Whittingham is also prohibited from disbursing, transferring, dealing with, drawing on or disposing of deposit monies received (up to $161,000) prior to the sale and delivery of the assets, as well as requesting any money from any person for access to such assets requesting, disbursing, transferring, drawing on, disposing of any payment or other consideration (after this order was made) prior to the actual delivery of the goods.
Agents are encouraged to contact Fair Trading NSW if they are approached by Mr Whittingham.