PHOTO: The Supreme Court ruled that Mr Pitt had engaged in “unconscionable conduct” by exploiting a vulnerable pensioner for profit.(ABC News: Dean Faulkner)

The Supreme Court has found a South Australian real estate agent exploited an impoverished and vulnerable pensioner through property transactions, engaging in “unconscionable” conduct to secure large profits.

The court ruled that Adelaide real estate agent Zane Pitt had convinced a then-70-year-old widower, who had lost almost all his money to a gambling addiction, to sell his home for $85,000 less than it was worth before transferring the property to his daughter, Tarnia Pitt, who subdivided and sold it at a significant profit.

In 2012, Mr Pitt entered into an agreement with the pensioner, identified in the judgement only as Mr Hartwig, for the option to buy his property at Taperoo, north of Adelaide, for $200,000 during the subsequent four years.

Mr Hartwig, who possessed a “limited” education and a “negligible” understanding of property transactions, needed to urgently sell the property so he could move into a retirement village.

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He had lived for many years in the house with his wife, who died in 2003.

After an inspection of the house found that it was not “fit for human habitation” and should be demolished, the pensioner agreed to reduce the sale price to $175,000 at Mr Pitt’s request.