Fake agent sells 23 properties

The regulator has warned consumers not to deal with an unlicensed agent who has been successfully selling real estate.

Fair Trading NSW said that Peter Franklin Atherton, who is based in the New South Wales town of Goulburn, has been operating without a licence.

His business, Franklin Real Estate, which trades as The Country Specialist, is also unlicensed, according to Fair Trading.

A search of Mr Atherton’s realestate.com.au profile suggests he has sold 23 properties this financial year, including five in April and one in May.

Real Estate Business phoned Mr Atherton for comment, but he did not answer the call or respond to a voicemail message.

Fair Trading said it launched an investigation into Mr Atherton following a consumer complaint.

It was then established that he did not have a licence and that his company was not registered with ASIC, according to Fair Trading.

“Mr Atherton has not produced any of his accounts to Fair Trading for examination and, as he conducts business solely on the internet, Fair Trading has been unable to carry out normal auditing of his business affairs,” it said.

Fair Trading said Mr Atherton was issued with a $2,200 penalty infringement notice in November 2014 for not being licensed.

Mr Atherton continued to display properties on his website despite being told it was illegal for him to operate as an agent.

Fair Trading said it has started action to close down Mr Atherton’s website, although it was offline at the time of publication.

Vendors have been urged to contact Fair Trading if they have a property listed with Mr Atherton or Franklin Real Estate.

The regulator has also asked consumers who have dealt with Mr Franklin to lodge a complaint.

[Related: Fake agent cops fine and seven-year ban]

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