14 indictments: Bid rigging in foreclosure auctions

 

Real estate investors have been indicted for being part of a bid rigging scheme in Georgia’s foreclosure auctions.

“They conspired with others not to bid against one another at public real estate foreclosure auctions on selected properties.” […] “The conspirators allegedly held secret ‘second auctions’ for properties they obtained through rigged bids, dividing the auction proceeds that should have gone to pay off debts against the properties and, in some cases, to homeowners who had defaulted”, the DOJ said.

‘These defendants corrupted public foreclosure auctions in Georgia to keep for themselves money that rightfully belonged to banks and homeowners’, said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. ‘Those who illegally enrich themselves at the expense of financially distressed homeowners and their lenders should be held accountable for their crimes’.”

“A violation of the Sherman Act carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals.  The maximum fine for a Sherman Act charge may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime if either amount is greater than the statutory maximum fine.  A count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine in an amount equal to the greatest of $250,000, twice the gross gain the conspirators derived from the crime or twice the gross loss caused to the victims of the crime by the conspirators.”

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