FREC reporting requirements for convictions, pleadings
Thursday, April 4, 2013
If a licensee is convicted, found guilty or pled nolo contendere or guilty to any crime while licensed, it must be reported within 30 days of adjudication!
By Dick Fryer
In 2010, the Florida Legislature modified 455.227(1)(c), Florida Statutes to read:
|(1) The following acts shall constitute grounds for which the disciplinary actions specified in subsection (2) may be taken:|
(c) Being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction which relates to the practice of, or the ability to practice a licensee’s profession.
Furthermore,455.227(1)(t), Florida Statutes reads:
|(t) Failing to report in writing to the board, or if there is no board, to the department within 30 days after the licensee is convicted or found guilty of, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction. A licensee must report a conviction, finding of guilt, or plea, or adjudication entered before the effective date of this paragraph within 30 days after the effective date of this paragraph. (bold added for emphasis)|
What these passages mean to all licensees registered with any agency under the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is that even though our regulatory act may have historically required the reporting of only felonies, effective July 1, 2010 ALL crimes (including misdemeanors) of which one has been convicted, found guilty, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty must be reported to the DPBR. As you can see from the highlighted sentence, all licensees were given 30 days after the effective date of this change in the legislation to report any such crimes committed PRIOR to the passage of this language, even though you were not previously required to do so.
You might ask why is this important to you, and that is a good question. Every month the Florida Real Estate Commission is now seeing cases where licensees are being prosecuted for failure to disclose crimes that were previously exempt from disclosure under Ch. 475.25(1)(p). During FREC's meeting on March 19, 2013, five cases were prosecuted for failure to report to the commission that licensees had been convicted, pled guilty or nolo contendere, or found guilty of a crime. Three of these cases were misdemeanor DUI cases; one from 2011, one from 2012; and one where the licensee pled nolo in 2008 but never notified FREC or DBPR. In each of those cases the FREC imposed minimal fines and costs to be paid by the licensee.
The lesson here is that if a licensee has EVER been convicted, found guilty, or pled nolo contendere or guilty to ANY crime since they obtained their license they are required to notify DBPR of such action. If a licensee is convicted, found guilty or pled nolo contendere or guilty to any crime - including misdemeanors - while licensed they must report said actions within 30 days of adjudication.
Richard Fryer, Southern Style Realty, is both a licensed real estate broker and the owner and president of IFREC Real Estate Schools. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.