Northern California Man Convicted of Rigging Bids at Public Foreclosure Auctions
A federal jury convicted Thomas Joyce for his role in a conspiracy to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions held in Contra Costa County, California, the Department of Justice announced today.
After a week-long trial before honorable Chief Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton in Oakland, California, the jury convicted Joyce of one count of conspiring to rig bids at foreclosure auctions between about June 2008 and January 2011. Joyce was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California on Dec. 3, 2014.
The evidence at trial showed that Joyce conspired with others to rig bids to obtain properties sold at foreclosure auctions in Contra Costa County. The conspirators negotiated payoffs for agreeing not to compete and then held second, private auctions known as “rounds” to determine the amounts of the payoffs for the individuals who had participated in the bid suppression.
Including Joyce’s conviction, 64 individuals have either pleaded guilty or been convicted after trial of criminal charges as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigations into bid rigging at public foreclosure auctions in Northern California. Indictments are pending against several other real estate investors who participated in the conspiracy.
This conviction is the latest development in the division’s ongoing investigation into bid rigging at public real estate foreclosure auctions in California’s San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa and Alameda counties. The investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Office.
For more information about the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov. Anyone with information concerning bid rigging or fraud related to public real estate foreclosure auctions should contact the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office at 415-934-5300 or call the FBI tip line at 415-553-7400.