Thursday, March 23, 2017

Northern California Real Estate Operator Gets 12 Months Prison Time, $240K In Fines, Restitution For Role In Bid Rigging Racket At Courthouse-Held Foreclosure Auctions

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):
  • A Northern California real estate investor was sentenced yesterday [March 15] for his role in a conspiracy to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California, the Department of Justice announced.

    John Michael Galloway was charged on Dec. 3, 2014, in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California. He pleaded guilty to one count of bid rigging in Oakland, California, on Nov. 16, 2016. Yesterday, Galloway was sentenced to serve 12 months of imprisonment and ordered to pay a $74,899 criminal fine and $265,050 in restitution.

    Between June 2008 and January 2011, Galloway conspired with others not to bid against one another, instead designating a winning bidder to obtain selected properties at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Contra Costa County.

    The members of the conspiracy then held second, private auctions to award the properties to members of the conspiracy and determine payoffs for other conspirators who had agreed not to bid against each other at the public auctions. The private auctions often took place at or near the courthouse steps where the public auctions were held. The primary purpose of the conspiracies was to suppress and eliminate competition in order to obtain selected real estate offered at Contra Costa County public foreclosure auctions at noncompetitive prices. When real estate properties are sold at public auctions, the proceeds are used to pay off the mortgage and other debt attached to the property, with the remaining proceeds, if any, paid to the homeowner.

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