Thursday, July 07, 2016

Count Now Up To 20 Suspects Pinched (With 18 Already Having Pleaded Or Agreed To Plead Guilty) By Antitrust Feds In Ongoing Atlanta-Area Probe Into Foreclosure Sale Bid Rigging Rackets

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):
  • Two Georgia real estate investors pleaded guilty [] for their roles in bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies committed at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Georgia, the Department of Justice announced [].

    Michael Stock and Jon Stovall Jr. 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.
    ***
    Including the individuals pleading today, 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.
    ***
    Anyone with information concerning bid rigging or fraud related to public real estate foreclosure auctions should contact the Washington Criminal II Section of the Antitrust Division at 202-598-4000, call the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 888-647-3258, or visit http://www.justice.gov/atr/report-violations.

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