Archives For Bid Rigging

James R. Patterson Jr., a real estate investor, plead guilty for his role in bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies committed at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Georgia.  Patterson admitted that he agreed with other real estate investors to rig auctions of foreclosed homes in Gwinnett County from May 2007 until at least November 2011.  According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Patterson and his co-conspirators agreed not to compete for the purchase of selected foreclosed homes so that they could win the auctions for those homes with artificially low bids.  The winning bidders then paid off the conspirators who had refrained from bidding against them.  As a result, conspirators profited from money that otherwise would have gone to mortgage holders and other secured debt holders and in some cases, to the people who owned the foreclosed homes.

Twenty-two defendants have been charged in connection with the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into bid rigging and fraudulent schemes involving real estate foreclosure auctions in the Atlanta area.  Twenty of those have either pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty.

These charges have been filed as a result of the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal II Section, the FBI’s Atlanta Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Georgia, in connection with the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

Jeffrey Wayne Brock, David Wallace “Chuck” Doughty, and Stanley Ralph Sullivan, real estate investors, pleaded guilty today for their roles in bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies committed at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Georgia.  Each admitted that they agreed to rig auctions of foreclosed homes in Cobb County from June 2007 until January 2012.  According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Brock, Doughty, Sullivan and their co-conspirators agreed not to compete for the purchase of selected foreclosed homes so that they could win the auctions for those homes with artificially low bids.  The winning bidders then made payoffs to conspirators who had refrained from bidding against them.  As a result, conspirators profited from money that otherwise would have gone to mortgage holders and other secured debt holders, and in some cases, to the owners of foreclosed homes.

These defendants conspired to corrupt foreclosure auctions that should have benefited lenders and homeowners,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse, head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “The Antitrust Division will continue to work with our colleagues at the FBI to pursue those who took advantage of disruption caused by the financial crisis to line their own pockets.”

Foreclosure auction fraud in Georgia remains a focus for the FBI investigators and federal prosecutors within the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice,” said Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson of the FBI’s Atlanta Division.  “By the very nature of this criminal act, the bank, and more importantly, the home owner in financial distress, are the victims that these federal laws were created to protect. The FBI will continue to provide investigative assets toward these matters in order to keep the level playing field that the law intended regarding these auctions.”

Twenty defendants have been charged in connection with the department’s ongoing investigation into bid rigging and fraudulent schemes involving real estate foreclosure auctions in the Atlanta area.  Eighteen of those have either pleaded guilty or agree to plead guilty.

The charges were filed as a result of the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal II Section, the FBI’s Atlanta Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Georgia, in connection with the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

Michael Stock, Georgia, and Jon Stovall Jr. Georgia, both of whom are real estate investors, pleaded guilty today for their roles in bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies committed at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Georgia.  Each admitted that they agreed with other real estate investors to refrain from bidding against one another at public real estate foreclosure auctions in exchange for payoffs.  Stock admitted to participating in the conspiracy in Fulton and DeKalb counties from as early as August 2009 until at least November 2011, and Stovall admitted to participating in Fulton County from as early as October 2008 until at least January 2012.  Additionally, Stock and Stovall admitted to conspiring to use the mail to carry out a scheme to defraud homeowners and mortgage holders.

According to court documents filed  in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the conspirators agreed not to compete against each other at public real estate foreclosure auctions, artificially suppressed the prices of properties sold at these auctions, and made and received payoffs from each other.  As a result, the conspirators seized money that otherwise would have gone to pay off the mortgage and other secured debt holders, and, in some cases, to the previous owner of the foreclosed home.

These defendants conspired to take money that rightfully belonged to homeowners and lenders,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse, head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Those homeowners and lenders have a right to expect that the properties will be sold in free and competitive auctions.  The Antitrust Division will continue to partner with our colleagues at the FBI to aggressively pursue conduct designed to disrupt that process.”

Foreclosure auction fraud in Georgia remains a focus for the FBI investigators and federal prosecutors within the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  By the very nature of this criminal act, the bank, and more importantly, the home owner in financial distress, are the victims that these federal laws were created to protect. The FBI will continue to provide investigative assets toward these matters in order to keep the level playing field that the law intended regarding these auctions.”

Including the individuals pleading, 20 defendants have been charged in connection with the department’s ongoing investigation into bid rigging and fraudulent schemes involving real estate foreclosure auctions in the Atlanta area.  Eighteen of those have either pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty.

These charges have been filed as a result of the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal II Section, the FBI’s Atlanta Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Georgia, in connection with the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

Trent Gaines, a Georgia real estate investor, pleaded guilty for his role in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Georgia.  Gaines admitted that he and others conspired not to bid against one another at public real estate foreclosure auctions from October 2008 to November 2010 in Fulton County, Georgia, and from September 2006 to February 2011 in DeKalb County, Georgia. Gaines also admitted to conspiring with others to use the mail to carry out a scheme to fraudulently acquire title to selected Fulton and DeKalb properties sold at public auctions, to make and receive payoffs and to divert money to co-conspirators that should have gone to mortgage holders and others. The selected properties were then awarded to the conspirators who submitted the highest bids in private side auctions open only to Gaines and his co-conspirators. Continue Reading…

A Georgia real estate investor pleaded guilty today for his role in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Fulton and DeKalb counties, Georgia.

Morris Podber, a Georgia real estate investor, pleaded guilty for his role in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Fulton and DeKalb counties, Georgia. Podber admitted that he conspired with others not to bid against one another at public real estate foreclosure auctions on selected properties. After the public foreclosure auctions, Podber admitted that he and his co-conspirators would divvy up the targeted properties in private side auctions, open only to the conspirators. Podber admitted to conspiring to use the mail to carry out their fraud, which included making and receiving payoffs and diverting money to co-conspirators that should have gone to the mortgage holders and others. Continue Reading…

Michael P. Barbour, a southern Alabama business man pled guilty for his role in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in southern Alabama.  Barbour admitted to conspiring to fraudulently acquire title to foreclosed properties at artificially low prices by agreeing with others not to bid against each other at public foreclosure auctions in southern Alabama.

According to documents filed with the court, from 2003 until 2010, Barbour conspired with other potential bidders for foreclosed properties to designate one person to bid at certain public foreclosure auctions.  Once the designated bidder won the property at the public auction, the conspirators held a secret, second auction open only to members of the conspiracy where they paid each other off.  As a result of these crimes, homeowners and banks received less than competitive prices for the properties.  Continue Reading…

John Shiells, Real Estate Investor,  Danville, California, and Miguel De Sanz, Real Estate Investor, San Francisco, California each pleaded guilty to three counts of bid rigging and three counts of mail fraud in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California in Oakland, California. Both were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California on Nov. 19, 2014 in connection with their role in bid-rigging conspiracies and mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California. Continue Reading…

Ramin Rad “Ray” Yeganeh, real estate investor, San Mateo, California was indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California in Oakland and charged with bid rigging and conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with public foreclosure auctions. Continue Reading…

David Wedean, a Georgia real estate investor, pleaded guilty for his role in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Georgia.

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Eric Hulsman, a Georgia real estate investor, pleaded guilty to his role in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Georgia.

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