Monday, July 31, 2017

Real Estate Operator Gets 21 Months Prison Time, $325K In Criminal Fines For Role In Bid-Rigging Public Auctions At Northern California Foreclosure Sales

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):
  • After being convicted at trial, a Northern California real estate investor was sentenced today [July 26] for his role in a conspiracy to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions, the Department of Justice announced.

    Alvin Florida Jr. was charged on Nov. 19, 2014, in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California. He was convicted on Dec. 15, 2016, of conspiring to rig bids at foreclosure auctions in Alameda County. Today, Florida was sentenced to serve 21 months in prison and to serve three years of supervised release. In addition to his term of imprisonment, Florida was ordered to pay a criminal fine of $325,803.

    Between May 2008 and December 2010, Florida conspired with others not to bid against one another, but instead designated a winning bidder to obtain selected properties. 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 Alameda 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.

    The sentence announced today is a result of an ongoing investigation into bid rigging at public real estate foreclosure auctions in California’s Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Mateo counties.