Monday, July 9, 2012

NJ Federal Court Consolidates Civil Suits Alleging Bid Rigging In NJ Tax Sales; Defendants Include Those Having Pled Guilty In Related Criminal Probe

In Trenton, New Jersey, the Hunterdon County Democrat reports:

  • Six federal lawsuits regarding tax sales have been consolidated and a judge is scheduled to choose an interim class lead attorney today, July 2.

  • A class action lawsuit initiated by a Lebanon Township woman facing foreclosure was the first to be filed. Jeanne Boyer, who has been fighting to save her own home from foreclosure, filed the suit in March on behalf of herself and potentially thousands of other homeowners in similar situations. Boyer alleges that she is one of many victims of an illegal scheme that allowed tax lien investors to charge the highest amount of interest allowed by law by eliminating the competitive bidding process.

  • The suit was filed in Hunterdon County Superior Court on March 13 and removed to federal court on March 28. Since then five other similar suits have been filed in Federal District Court, one in the Camden district, the rest in the Trenton district.

  • Raymond Contarino, of Newfield; MSC, LLC, of Cherry Hill; T&B Associates, Inc.; Ronald English and Lana and Samuel Ledford filed the other suits. An order to consolidate the cases was entered on June 11.

  • The six suits have many of the same defendants in common. The defendants include those that have already pleaded guilty and others still under investigation.

  • The suits ask the court to stop the people who have pleaded guilty from enforcing any tax liens they currently hold, return title to properties already foreclosed upon and turning over proceeds from sales of properties they received because of the bid-rigging scheme. Such proceeds are the “fruits of the illegal conduct” of the people now awaiting sentencing, according to the suit.

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