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Former real estate broker under investigation

  The Plumas County District Attorney’s Office is investigating a former Portola real estate agent on allegations that he misused his clients’ money.

  District Attorney David Hollister said his office is actively working on a potential case against Earl Warren Morrison.

  Morrison, an agent and property manager for Portola-based Lynn Welch Realty, voluntarily surrendered his real estate broker license Aug. 24, 2012, after the California Department of Real Estate accused him of six violations.

  The state reported that Morrison failed to deposit, maintain and account for money in a trust account related to the property management business.

  According to court documents, the trust account was missing $56,382.60 on Nov. 30, 2011. The document stated the account was short $43,058.08 eight months earlier.

  A trust account is used for holding rent and deposit money collected from clients. Money is withdrawn to pay refunds and other management-related expenses. Trust accounts are traditionally used as a method to keep tenant deposits and rent payments separate from operating capital.

  Brokers are not allowed to tap into these funds except for trust-related items.

  The state said Morrison failed to produce records and copies of transactions, including deposit receipts and canceled checks, as required by law.

  The district attorney said the number of clients who were potentially affected was unknown.

  A call placed to Morrison’s home phone number seeking comment was not returned by press time.

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