Antitrust Feds' List Of N. California Foreclosure Sale Bid-Rigging Suspects Admitting Guilt Now Grows to 31 As Probe Continues
From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):
- A Northern California real estate investor has agreed to plead guilty for his role 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  in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco against Robert Williams of Atherton, Calif. Williams is the 31st individual to plead guilty or agree to plead guilty as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigations into bid rigging and fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California.
According to court documents, Williams conspired with others not to bid against one another, but instead to designate a winning bidder to obtain selected properties at public real estate foreclosure auctions in San Mateo County, Calif. Williams was also charged with conspiring to use the mail to carry out schemes to fraudulently acquire title to selected properties sold at public auctions, to make and receive payoffs and to divert to co-conspirators money that would have otherwise gone to mortgage holders and others.
- “Collusion at these foreclosure auctions enabled the conspirators to present the illusion of competition, when they were actually thwarting the competitive process and profiting at the expense of lenders and distressed homeowners,” said Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “The division remains committed to holding accountable those who illegally subvert competition at real estate foreclosure auctions across the country.”