DRE Hot Seat: Criminal misconduct a willful disregard of real estate law

This article is part of an ongoing series covering violations of real estate law. Here, the Department of Real Estate (DRE) revoked the California real estate license of a broker who received a felony sentence for burglarizing a home.

In October 2021, the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) decided by default decision to revoke the license of John Damon Miles, a broker since 2013 operating out of Riverside, California.

In January 2019, Miles received a felony complaint against him from the San Diego County Superior Court.

Miles failed to report this felony charge against him within 30 days to the DRE, as is required by real estate law. [Calif. Business and Professions Code §10186.2]

In February 2020, at his hearing, Miles was convicted of a felony. He pled guilty for first degree burglary for burglarizing an inhabited dwelling house.

In October 2020, the San Diego County Superior Court issued their sentencing. It included:

  • a three year formal probation;
  • a 136-day serving of jail time;
  • the payment of fees, assessments and a restitution fine; and
  • paying the victim’s restitution.

In addition to failing to report the felony complaint Miles received in 2019, Miles also failed to report his conviction in 2020.

The burglary conviction bears a substantial relationship to the qualifications, functions and duties of a real estate licensee, and the crime itself constitutes cause for the DRE to revoke a real estate license. [Bus & P C §10177(d)]

Miles was ordered to cover the DRE’s investigation and enforcement costs of $340.

Criminality and licensure — a completely incompatible relationship

When the DRE considers whether a crime substantially relates to the qualifications, functions or duties of a licensee, they observe several characteristics relating to the crime to help them determine which course of action to take.

The characteristics indicating a substantial relationship include:

  • the fraudulent taking of funds or property belonging to another;
  • counterfeiting, forging or altering an instrument or making a false statement;
  • willfully attempting to gain financial benefit through nonpayment of government taxes, assessments or levies;
  • bribery, fraud, deceit, falsehood or misrepresentation;
  • sexual conduct affecting a non-consenting observer or participant;
  • willfully violating or failing to comply with laws controlling professional real estate licenses;
  • willfully engaging in a business activity without obtaining a license or permit required to perform the activity;
  • committing an unlawful act for financial or economic benefit, or with the intent of harming another person or property;
  • willfully failing to comply with a court order;
  • conduct which demonstrates repeated disregard for the law; or
  • two or more convictions involving alcohol consumption or drug use when at least one of the convictions involves driving under the influence. [DRE Regulations §2910]

Related article:

Criminal activity and real estate licensure

The DRE also considers the severity of the offense. A felony is likely to receive high levels of discipline since it is a more serious offense. Likewise, theft, embezzlement or fraud is more likely to result in revocation.

The DRE, through its licensure, regulation and enforcement, safeguards and promotes public interests in real estate matters. Fostering its mission involves stamping out the bad actors.

Criminal activity and misconduct have no place in a trade premised on honesty, competency and transparency.

Related article:

DRE Hot Seat: Broker’s criminal activities “substantially related” to real estate license

DRE Hot Seat: Criminal misconduct a willful disregard of real estate law