Chesterton Tribune



Real estate license revoked in 2012

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Don Johnson used to be a familiar face in Duneland’s real estate market.

Then, in November 2010, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office brought a 33-count administrative complaint against him, alleging numerous improprieties on Johnson’s part.

In June 2012, Johnson and the Indiana Real Estate Commission (IREC) reached a negotiated settlement, under which the IREC suspended his broker’s license for three years and ordered him to pay $15,000 in consumer restitution.

But when Johnson failed to pay the first $5,000 installment of that restitution, the IREC revoked his broker’s license permanently.

The IREC had previously concluded the following about Johnson’s practices:

* Johnson “engaged in material deception” by providing “advice as to bankruptcy filings . . . without a license to practice law.”

* Johnson “improperly” counseled a consumer “as to bankruptcy filings in order to delay the foreclosure process.”

* Johnson violated the Mortgage Rescue Protection Fraud Act and the Credit Services Organization Act by “failing to obtain a surety bond”; “failing to provide a written statement prior to contracting services”; and “failing to provide homeowners written notice of their rights.”

* Johnson failed to notify a client whose house he said he would purchase that the property was subsequently sold at a sheriff’s sale. But he continued to collect rental payments totaling $1,800 from the tenants of that property while at the same time failed to pay the mortgage on the property.

* Johnson failed to “provide a refund for foreclosure consulting services” to four different clients “when such a refund was warranted.”

* Johnson “has become unfit to practice due to failure to keep abreast of current theory” as well as to “professional incompetence,” after the date on a letter executed by a local bank--to the effect that he had $150,000 available with which to make short-sale offers--was altered. Johnson denied altering the letter himself and indicated instead that an associate changed the date through a miscommunication. In any case, the IREC said, Johnson did admit that, six months after the letter’s execution, the bank was in no position to suggest that he had those funds available.

* Johnson was also found to be “unfit to practice,” after he offered the attendees of a seminar “a guaranteed rate of return on his investment and advised his ‘friends’ on Facebook a safe ‘6-14%+’ when partnered with him.”


Posted 3/18/2014




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