Three Northern California Real Estate Investors Convicted of Rigging Bids at Public Foreclosure Auctions
A federal jury today convicted three real estate investors for their roles in a conspiracy to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions held in Northern California, the Department of Justice announced.
After a three-week trial, the jury convicted Michael Marr, Javier Sanchez, and Gregory Casorso, on all counts. Marr, Sanchez, and Casorso were convicted for conspiring to rig bids at foreclosure auctions in Alameda County, California, between June 2008 and January 2011. Marr and Sanchez were also convicted on charges of conspiring to rig bids at foreclosure auctions in Contra Costa County, California between July 2008 and January 2011. The three defendants were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California on Nov. 19, 2014.
The evidence at trial showed that the defendants conspired with others to rig bids to obtain hundreds of properties sold at foreclosure auctions. The conspirators designated the winning bidders to obtain selected properties at the public auctions, and negotiated payoffs among themselves in return for not competing. They then held second, private auctions at or near the courthouse steps where the public auctions were held, awarding the properties to conspirators who submitted the highest bids.
Including today’s convictions, 68 individuals have pleaded guilty or been convicted after trial as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigations into bid rigging at public foreclosure auctions in Northern California. Indictments are pending against other real estate investors who participated in the conspiracy.
The investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Office. Anyone with information concerning bid rigging at 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.