Regulatory Decisions And Disclosures
Cancellation of Broker Real Estate Licence: Marc Doucet, Royal LePage Atlantic
NOTICE OF LICENCE CANCELLATION
Effective November 1, 2019
The Registrar hereby gives notice that the real estate broker licence for Marc Doucet, broker of Royal LePage Atlantic is cancelled effective November 1, 2019 to October 31, 2020 for violating the following section of the Real Estate Trading Act and the Commission Bylaws:
- Real Estate Trading Act, Section 22 (2) (a), (b)
- Commission Bylaw 602 b)
- Commission Bylaw 614
- Commission Bylaw 625 a)
- Commission Bylaw 703 b) c) d) e)
- Commission Bylaw 704 d)
The violations resulted from an investigation that was initiated by the Registrar as a result of a Commission audit where trust accounts discrepancies were identified. The evidence supports that more than 40 disbursements were made from the brokerage’s trust accounts to the brokerage’s operating account over a 15-month period. This was improper because the disbursements were not made as a result of completed real estate transactions.
A review of the brokerage’s operating account indicated the trust funds were used and expensed for operational purposes. The trust funds were returned to the trust accounts within one-to-two months after the initial disbursements, however none of the disbursements or subsequent-returned deposits were identified on the brokerage’s trust control ledger. In total, more than $3-million dollars in trust fund disbursements were removed and later returned from the brokerage’s trust accounts within a 15-month period. The Commission is currently taking steps to independently confirm that all of the trust funds have been returned to the trust account.
As broker, Mr. Doucet signed the trust account bank reconciliations each month despite clear indication of the trust shortages. Mr. Doucet did not take adequate measures, as required by a broker, to identify or rectify these ongoing trust shortages.
If after the one-year cancellation Mr. Doucet applies for a broker-level licence, he must complete and pass the Commission’s broker licensing course and exam. He would be further subject to audits every six months at his expense, and will have restrictions on his broker licence pertaining to trust funds.
He is also ordered to pay $5,000 in fines. During his one-year cancellation, Mr. Doucet is eligible to apply for a salesperson licence.
As a result of this investigation, Royal LePage Atlantic was also charged for violating the following sections of the Real Estate Trading Act and Commission Bylaw:
- Real Estate Trading Act, Section 22 (1) (a), (c)
- Real Estate Trading Act, Section 22 (2) (a), (b)
- Commission Bylaw 622
The chief financial offer (CFO), an unlicensed part owner was responsible for the financial management of the brokerage, which included the operating account and trust accounts. The CFO disbursed the funds in question from the trust accounts to the brokerage’s operating account. The Commission’s investigation determined the brokerage had inadequate internal controls for identifying and addressing these ongoing trust shortages. The brokerage’s senior management failed to ensure trust monies were properly protected by either turning a blind eye to the CFO’s actions or employing an inadequate internal control system to prevent such situations from occurring.
As a result of the violations, the brokerage is order to pay a $15,000 fine and the incurred investigation and legal costs, totaling approximately $25,000.
The brokerage is further subject to, at their expense, an independent review by an accounting firm that is approved by the Commission, to verify the trust liability of the brokerage’s trust accounts. The brokerage is also subject to a series of Commission audits every six months at the brokerage’s expense and must provide monthly bank statements of the trust accounts and operating account, and all related record keeping until otherwise determined by the Registrar. This notice has been distributed to licensees in accordance with Commission Bylaw 839.
The Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission has the authority, pursuant to the Real Estate Trading Act and the Commission Bylaw, to publish licensing and disciplinary decisions and disclosures. In addition to notices of licence suspensions and terminations, the Commission publishes a bi-annual Discipline Newsletter, which serves as an educational tool for licensees and is available to the public in accordance with the following:
- Investigations that result in fines of $500 or less are summarized along with the sanction. Neither the licensee nor the brokerage are named in this summary.
- Investigations that result in fines greater than $500 include the licensee’s name, the brokerage name, a summary of the circumstances that led to the investigation, the sanctions and any costs the licensee is ordered to pay.
When a licence is suspended, the Registrar may also notify the public by publishing the information in the provincial newspaper, in accordance with Commission Bylaw 839.
- Commission Disciplinary Newsletter - July 2019
- Commission Disciplinary Newsletter - July 2018
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - August 2017
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - March 2017
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - December 2016
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - September 2016
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - March 2016
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - November 2015
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - July 2015
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - July 2014
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - December 2013
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - June 2013
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - November 2012
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - April 2012
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - November 2010
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - May 2010
- Commission Discipline Newsletter - November 2009