Steven Cross and Brendan Wong
Infamous scammer Mark Whittingham has been banned from being a company director for 15 years, after the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court found him guilty of defrauding several real estate agents.
The court also ordered Mr Whittingham and his company, Connection Blue, to pay nearly $20,000 in costs and to advertise the court’s decision in the Herald Sun newspaper.
The announcement comes just over a week after Real Estate Business’ revealed that Mr Whittingham was linked to a new scam targeting mortgage broking professionals.
The court order restrains Mr Whittingham and/or his company until 1 June 2023 from, in relation to rent rolls, mortgage trail books or planning books:
- disbursing, transferring, dealing with, drawing on or disposing of deposits received before sale and delivery;
- requesting any money from anyone for access to such assets; or
- requesting, disbursing, transferring, drawing on or disposing of any payment or other consideration (after this order was made) before delivery.
Speaking with Real Estate Business' sister publication The Adviser, CEO of the Mortgage & Finance Assocation of Australia Phil Naylor said it was "about time".
“It’s hard to know if this will be enough though. He has obviously ignored rulings from the courts in the past, so it remains to be seen – but it sounds like it will make it very difficult for him to operate from now,” Mr Naylor said.
CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria Enzo Raimondo told Real Estate Business he was pleased with the outcome.
“We had the help of our members who provided information that assisted Consumer Affairs, especially from members who paid money over to Mr Whittingham, and I think it’s a great result that he’s finally been caught up with and made to repay money," he said.
“He’s just a dishonest individual who obviously got some form given his past experience and I’m glad he’s been taken out of the picture and that we’ve been able to assist in the process.”
Comment was sought from Mr Whittingham, but he did not return calls.
Mr Whittingham’s wife, Kate Whittingham, is now conducting a similar business known as Rent Roll Buyers through the company Cali Four Pty Ltd.
Consumer Affairs Victoria is investigating similar complaints about this business.