Section 326.006, Florida Statutes 2001
326.006 Powers and duties of division.--
(1) Proceedings under the Yacht and Ship Brokers' Act shall be conducted pursuant to chapter 120.
(2) The division has the power to enforce and ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter and rules adopted under this chapter relating to the sale and ownership of yachts and ships. In performing its duties, the division has the following powers and duties:
(a) The division may make necessary public or private investigations within or outside this state to determine whether any person has violated this chapter or any rule or order issued under this chapter, to aid in the enforcement of this chapter, or to aid in the adoption of rules or forms under this chapter.
(b) The division may require or permit any person to file a statement in writing, under oath or otherwise, as the division determines, as to the facts and circumstances concerning a matter to be investigated.
(c) For the purpose of any investigation under this chapter, the division director or any officer or employee designated by the division director may administer oaths or affirmations, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance, take evidence, and require the production of any matter that is relevant to the investigation, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts or any other matter reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of material evidence. Upon the failure by a person to obey a subpoena or to answer questions propounded by the investigating officer and upon reasonable notice to all persons affected thereby, the division may apply to the circuit court for an order compelling compliance.
(d) Notwithstanding any remedies available to a yacht or ship purchaser, if the division has reasonable cause to believe that a violation of any provision of this chapter or rule adopted under this chapter has occurred, the division may institute enforcement proceedings in its own name against any broker or salesperson or any of his or her assignees or agents, or against any unlicensed person or any of his or her assignees or agents, as follows:
1. The division may permit a person whose conduct or actions are under investigation to waive formal proceedings and enter into a consent proceeding whereby orders, rules, or letters of censure or warning, whether formal or informal, may be entered against the person.
2. The division may issue an order requiring the broker or salesperson or any of his or her assignees or agents, or requiring any unlicensed person or any of his or her assignees or agents, to cease and desist from the unlawful practice and take such affirmative action as in the judgment of the division will carry out the purposes of this chapter.
3. The division may bring an action in circuit court on behalf of a class of yacht or ship purchasers for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, or restitution.
4. The division may impose a civil penalty against a broker or salesperson or any of his or her assignees or agents, or against an unlicensed person or any of his or her assignees or agents, for any violation of this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter. A penalty may be imposed for each day of continuing violation, but in no event may the penalty for any offense exceed $10,000. All amounts collected must be deposited with the Treasurer to the credit of the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes Trust Fund. If a broker, salesperson, or unlicensed person working for a broker, fails to pay the civil penalty, the division shall thereupon issue an order suspending the broker's license until such time as the civil penalty is paid or may pursue enforcement of the penalty in a court of competent jurisdiction. The order imposing the civil penalty or the order of suspension may not become effective until 20 days after the date of such order. Any action commenced by the division must be brought in the county in which the division has its executive offices or in the county where the violation occurred.
(e) The division may suspend or revoke the license of a broker or salesperson who:
1. Makes a substantial and intentional misrepresentation, with respect to a transaction involving a yacht, upon which any person has relied.
2. Makes a false warranty, with respect to a transaction involving a yacht, of a character likely to influence, persuade, or induce any person with whom business is transacted.
3. Engages in continued misrepresentation or makes false warranties with respect to transactions involving a yacht, whether or not relied upon by another person.
4. Acts for both the buyer and seller in a transaction involving a yacht without the knowledge and written consent of both parties.
5. Commingles the money or other property of his or her principal with his or her own.
6. Commits fraud or dishonest acts in the conduct of any transaction involving a yacht.
7. Allows an unlicensed person to use his or her name to evade the provisions of the Yacht and Ship Brokers' Act.
8. Violates any law governing the transactions involving a yacht, including any provision relating to the collection or payment of sales or use taxes.
(f) The division may suspend or revoke the license of a broker or salesperson who has:
1. Procured a license for himself or herself or another by fraud, misrepresentation, falsification, or deceit.
2. Been found guilty of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude.
(3) All fees must be deposited in the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes Trust Fund as provided by law.
History.--ss. 6, 7, ch. 88-282; s. 6, ch. 89-128; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 3, ch. 93-55; s. 449, ch. 95-148.