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Press releases 2002 -

Estate agents banned by OFT

PN 51/02     22 August 2002

Estate agents Robert Michael Cheslett and Paul Pacelli Quigley have been banned from estate agency work.

Mr Cheslett, and Mr Quigley, who have both worked as estate agents, received Prohibition Orders in separate actions by the OFT. They are the fourth and fifth estate agents to be banned by the OFT this year.

Stockport Trading Standards Department drew Mr Cheslett to the attention of the OFT. Mr Cheslett had been convicted at Manchester Crown Court, Tameside Magistrates' Court and Liverpool Crown Court of various offences involving fraud and other dishonesty or violence. He received a number of fines and suspended imprisonment sentences.

Mr Quigley had been convicted at Southwark Crown Court of an offence of conspiracy to defraud. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment.

An adjudicator appointed by the OFT determined that Mr Cheslett and Mr Quigley were both unfit to carry on estate agency work. Prohibition Orders were made against Mr Cheslett and Mr Quigley on 12 July and 23 July 2002 respectively.

NOTES

1. The Estate Agents Act 1979 covers anyone who, in the course of business, is engaged in 'estate agency work'. This means introducing to someone else a person who wishes to buy, sell or lease land or property, and being involved in negotiating the subsequent deal. The work must be in the course of business, whether as employer or employee, and as a result of instructions from a client. The land or property may be commercial, industrial, agricultural or residential. This does not include acting as a letting agent.

2. The OFT can bar from estate agency work a person who has been convicted of certain specified offences such as fraud, or other dishonesty or violence; or who has committed racial or sexual discrimination in the course of estate agency work; or who has failed to comply with the requirements placed on estate agents by the Act.

3. Before a Prohibition Order is issued, the person concerned has the right to make representations to the OFT as to why the Order should not be made. If an Order is made, an appeal can be made to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

4. After an Order has been made, the person affected can at any time, and on payment of a fee, currently £2,500, apply to the OFT for the Order to be varied or revoked. In Mr Cheslett's case the Prohibition Order may cease to have effect when the rehabilitation period for the convictions ends in January 2009. In Mr Quigley's case a rehabilitation period does not apply.

5. A public register of Prohibition Orders is kept by the OFT at CCLB 3rd Floor, Craven House, 40 Uxbridge Road, Ealing, London, W5 2BS.

6. In this press release the functions of the Director General of Fair Trading (DGFT) under the Act are for simplicity described as the functions of 'the OFT'. The Enterprise Bill proposes to replace the office of the DGFT with the OFT, to which would be transferred the DGFT's functions.




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