Auctioneer Sentenced for Defrauding Banks in Trustee Auctions

Allison Tussey —  September 16, 2014 — Leave a comment

Reyna Peinado, 48, Huntington Beach, California, an auctioneer who defrauded banks by accepting bribes to lower the amount of winning bids in trustee auctions, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison.

The defendant was sentenced by United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford.

According to a plea agreement filed in this case, Peinado conspired with a confederate – identified in court papers by the initials “S.F.” – in a scheme to defraud banks. During the scheme, which started in February 2012 and lasted for about three months, Peinado conducted real estate auctions on the steps of the Orange County Courthouse on behalf of a trustee known as Reliable Posting and Publishing (RPP), which represented banks which held title of the foreclosed properties.

Peinado began the auctions with an opening bid for a property located in Orange County, and attendees would then call out bids, all of which the defendant would tally before declaring a winning bidder. Once the trustee sales were conducted, Peinado called in the sale price and used an overnight courier to send a receipt of funds and cashiers’ checks from the winning bidder to RPP, which posted the sale price on the website for the property.

At the conclusion of some of the trustee sales, Peinado contacted the winning bidder to solicit a bribe in order to reduce the purchase price of the property. In return for approximately $5,000 per property, Peinado reduced the sale price from between $15,000 to $57,000 less than the winning bid purchase price. By reducing the purchase price on seven properties, Peinado caused approximately $261,500 in losses to the banks.

Acting United States Attorney Stephanie Yonekura and Bill L. Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office announced the sentence.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Allison Tussey

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