Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Antitrust Feds Continue Clean-Up In N. California Foreclosure Sale Bid-Rigging Scams As Two More Negotiate Pleas Before Charges Filed

From the U.S. Department of Justice:

  • Two Northern California real estate investors have agreed to plead guilty for their roles in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California, the Department of Justice announced.

  • Felony charges were filed [Thursday] in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland, Calif., against Douglas Ditmer of San Ramon, Calif. and Keith Slipper of Oakland.

  • To date, as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigation into bid rigging and fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California, 24 individuals, including Ditmer and Slipper, have agreed to plead or have pleaded guilty.
  • According to court documents, Ditmer and Slipper participated in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud by agreeing to stop bidding or to refrain from bidding for properties at public foreclosure auctions in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, Calif., negotiating payoffs with other conspirators not to compete, purchasing selected properties at public auctions at suppressed prices, and participating in second, private auctions open only to members of the conspiracy, where the property was awarded to the conspirator who submitted the highest bid.
  • The department said that the primary purpose of the conspiracies was to suppress and restrain competition in order to obtain selected real estate offered at Contra Costa and Alameda county public foreclosure auctions at non-competitive prices.

  • When real estate properties are sold at these auctions, the proceeds are used to pay off the mortgage and other debt attached to the property, with remaining proceeds, if any, paid to the homeowner. According to court documents, these conspirators paid and received money that otherwise would have gone to pay off the mortgage and other holders of debt secured by the properties, and, in some cases, the defaulting homeowner.

  • Each violation of the Sherman Act carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals. The maximum fine for the Sherman Act charges may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victim if either amount is greater than $1 million.
For the Justice Department press release, see Two Northern California Real Estate Investors Agree to Plead Guilty to Bid Rigging at Public Foreclosure Auctions (Investigation Has Yielded 24 Plea Agreements to Date).

1 comment:

Joan McMillan said...

Our Family were victims of Keith Slippers' real estate fraud scams here in Sonoma County ,Calif. We were glad that the F.B.I. finally arrested him ,but only due to wealthy real estate investors' turned him in and filed reports against him. We filed reports against Slipper and his partners in crime for several years,only to be ignored by the F.B.I. and Anti Trust Dept.,as well as our local Sonoma Co. court system . Justice is long past due and we need the Federal Courts in Oakland ,Calif. to finally make Keith Slipper accountable for his crimes against our family,and return our property back,as well as mandatory restituition for all damages immediatly, as well as other victims of his crimes,there are many. Our farm is located at 1414Freestone Flat Rd.,Freestone Calif. If you Google the names Keith Slipper and also Martin Gavriloff,who now works privately from his home in Graton,Calif. you will learn more about their crimes against our family farm,and their lawyers who covered up what they did.