Donald Joseph Smith, a real estate broker accused of bilking more than $239,000 from investors who thought they were making bids on foreclosed homes, has tentatively agreed to the revocation of his broker's license, according to a spokesman for the California Department of Real Estate. As a result, said Timothy Newlove, an attorney for the state agency, a hearing scheduled this week before an administrative law judge has been indefinitely postponed.
"It's a way of resolving the case without having to go through a contested hearing," Newlove said.
In the agreement, according to Newlove, Smith--who has offices in Long Beach and Cerritos--admits to some, but not all, of the violations of real estate law mentioned in the department's formal accusation against him.
In addition to being accused of failing to return the bid deposits, Smith--who does business as UGI Realty and Multi-Property Investments--is accused of employing unlicensed real estate agents and of refusing to open his books to state investigators.
Newlove said the agreement would become final after being reviewed by the real estate commissioner's office, a process that could take two or three weeks. Neither Smith nor his attorney could be reached for comment.
A spokesman for the Long Beach Police Department has said police are investigating between 40 and 50 complaints regarding the broker's actions for possible criminal prosecution.