A real estate investor was sentenced to serve 16 months in jail for his role in a bid rigging conspiracy and bank fraud scheme involving public foreclosure auctions in Georgia, the Department of Justice announced yesterday.
Douglas L. Purdy was charged on Feb. 3, 2016, in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia. Purdy was convicted following a two-week trial on June 16, 2017, of bid rigging and two counts of bank fraud at Forsyth County, Georgia, foreclosure auctions. The Honorable Richard W. Story sentenced Purdy to serve 16 months in prison, serve three years supervised release, and pay $100,979.86 in restitution to victims.
“Yesterday’s sentencing is yet another example of the Antitrust Division’s commitment to aggressively prosecute bid rigging schemes that subvert competition,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. “Including yesterday’s sentencing, a total of 20 individuals have been sentenced to terms of incarceration for bid rigging and fraud at public foreclosure auctions in the Northern District of Georgia.”
The evidence at trial showed that Purdy and his co-conspirators agreed not to compete for residential real estate at foreclosure auctions in Forsyth County and defrauded lender banks and homeowners. Among other methods, the conspirators held secret “second auctions” of properties, dividing among themselves the auction proceeds that should have gone to pay off debts against the properties and, in some cases, to homeowners.
In addition to Purdy’s conviction, 22 real estate investors have pleaded guilty to similar charges as a result of the Department’s ongoing antitrust investigations into bid rigging and fraud at public foreclosure auctions in the Atlanta area.
The Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal II Section and the FBI’s Atlanta Division conducted the investigation, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Georgia. Anyone with information concerning bid rigging or fraud related to real estate foreclosure auctions should contact the Washington Criminal II Section of the Antitrust Division at 202-598-4000 or https://www.justice.gov/atr/report-violations.