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Thompson, of Philpot, is president of Thompson Homes. Thompson was first elected to the House ... Thompson was the bill's primary sponsor. "We retooled Kentucky's economic development and incentive packages," Thompson said. In preparing the bill, he ...


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This copy is for your personal non-commercial use onlyTo order presentation-ready copies of Toronto Star content for distribution to colleagues, clients or customers, or inquire about permissions/licensing, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.comBusinessToronto real estate broker jailed for a yearDavid Seto, a prominent ReMax realtor with branches in Richmond Hill and Toronto, has been jailed for taking money to be held in trust for clients.Real estate broker David Seto at a staff Christmas party.  (SUPPLIED PICTURE)By Tony WongTelevision ReporterTues., Feb23, 2010David Seto seemed to have it allThe prominent real estate broker and owner of ReMax Executive Realty Inchad several branches in Richmond Hill and TorontoLast year he was responsible for 125 agents and 15 staff members, comprising one of the largest franchises in the Greater Toronto AreaBut the dreams of the one-time Porsche-driving realtor came to a halt with a spectacular fall from grace on Monday, when he was sentenced to a year in jail for not depositing money into his clients' trust accounts.More than half a million dollars in home buyers' and agents' money was unaccounted for, according to testimony heard in court"These were very serious matters," said Justice of the Peace Robert Lewin of the Ontario Court of Justice"This was a large amount of money lost to people who were trying to close real estate transactions."Seto, 61, pleaded guilty to eight counts of failing to comply with the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act by not depositing money from agents and clients into trust accountsInstead, he put the money into the general accounts of Executive RealtyHis company was also fined a total of $200,000Article Continued Below Lawyer Marvin Flancman said his client was a victim of the economic downturn, when real estate sales started to fall dramatically"He didn't profit from thisHe didn't run away with the money or put it in a foreign bankHe and his wife are virtually wiped out," said Flancman"He was just trying to keep the business afloat."Court heard that the once high-flying realtor had lost $1.2 million of his own money, and that he's now driving a taxi for $750 a week to pay off his debts.The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), the regulatory body for realtors in the province, received an anonymous complaint in January 2009 and decided to investigate, according to an agreed statement of facts.The deposit money from buyers who have purchased a home, but are waiting for the property to close, is supposed to be placed in a trust account.An investigation disclosed a shortfall in the trust accounts of Executive RealtyRECO froze the company's accounts in February of last year and revoked Seto's registration last MarchHe eventually co-operated with investigators and pleaded guilty to failing to deposit monies into the trust accounts for a period from July 2007 to April 2008."He has indicated that he was ashamed of his actions and admits he was wrong and that people were hurt," said FlancmanWhen sales started to slow, Seto found he was owed money by his agents for office feesHis monthly overhead for staff and renting his three offices was $140,000He used the trust money to keep the business running, the court heard."With the slide in the market it caused agents not to sell as many units, and commissions weren't coming in," said Flancman"He was emotionally a wreck."Seto was also under emotional stress because his wife was suffering from cancer and he had to mortgage their home twice to keep the company going, he told the court.Flancman asked the court for leniency, and to not impose a jail sentence.But prosecutor Tim Snell, legal counsel for the Real Estate Council of Ontario, requested jail time as a "deterrent" to others who may contemplate doing the same thing."No one chooses to be in a bad financial situation in businessYou certainly don't have to choose to respond in this wayHe repeated this behaviour eight times and he transferred the risk onto consumers and to sales people."Snell said outside the court that consumers who deposited money on homes amounting to $133,779 were protected by insuranceAgents would also be protected, but some agents may not receive the entire amount they are owed because of insurance limitations, he said."I felt sad he lost everything he had, but justice was served," said Judy Paterson, a sales agent who worked for Seto"He lived the high life and now he's humbled."Paterson said she is still owed $7,000 in commissions"There were agents who lost a lot more than that," she said"He put us in a situation where some of us didn't have money to pay the bills."With two of his children in attendance, and half a dozen former agents watching, Seto placed his hands over his face, his head downHe was led away in handcuffs.Delivered dailyThe Morning Headlines NewsletterSubscribeThe Toronto Star and thestar.com, each property of Toronto Star Newspapers Limited, One Yonge Street, 4th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5E 1E6You can 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