Real Estate Investor Agrees to Plead Guilty to Bid Rigging at Public Foreclosure Auctions in Northern California
Investigations Have Yielded 65 Guilty Pleas to Date
A real estate investor pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California, the Department of Justice announced.
Abraham S. Farag, who was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on October 22, 2014, pleaded guilty to one count of bid rigging.
According to court documents, Farag participated in a conspiracy to rig bids by agreeing to refrain from bidding against other co-conspirators at public real estate foreclosure auctions in San Mateo County. The conspiracy began no later than August 2008 and continued until January 2011.
The primary purpose of the conspiracy was to suppress competition in order to obtain selected properties offered at San Mateo County public foreclosure auctions at noncompetitive prices.
Today’s guilty plea is the result of the Department’s ongoing investigation into bid rigging at public real estate foreclosure auctions in San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa, and Alameda counties, California. To date, 74 individuals have pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial.
These investigations are being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Office. Anyone with information concerning bid rigging or fraud related to 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.