The Real Estate Board has hailed the conviction of real estate developer Devon Evans as a major victory after he was found guilty of fraudulent conversion arising from the sale of an apartment unit on Wellington Drive, St Andrew.
Chief executive officer of the board, Sandra Garrick, believes that the recent development sends a good signal.
“This is a significant victory as the board wants to send a loud and unequivocal message to all developers or anyone in the real estate industry who callously and blatantly tries to swindle innocent persons out of their hard-earned money,” she said.
“What we have here is a case of wanton disregard for the purchasers, which often robs persons of a lifetime dream, which they have sacrificed so much for,” Garrick said.
Evans, of North American Holding Co Ltd, was found guilty by Parish Judge Marcine Ellis in the Corporate Area Parish Court on January 9, 2019, after being charged on July 23, 2017.
According to evidence presented by Clerk of Court Ruel Gibson, Cecil and Ingrid Batchelor made a down payment of $8.5 million to Evans in 2008. The Wellington Drive apartment was to be completed in 2009. However, after realising that no construction had begun, the couple demanded the refund of their deposit.
An alternative unit was offered to the couple after they filed a complaint with the Real Estate Board and the police in 2010, and an additional $7.4 million was requested to acquire the unit. Despite making this additional payment in 2013, it was not until 2016 that the Batchelors were able to secure the unit.
The court found that Evans deliberately sought to take the $8.5 million down payment from the Batchelors, under false pretence.