California Investor Pleads Guilty in Foreclosure Auction Bid-Rig Scheme
A California real estate investor admitted that he conspired to rig bids at foreclosure auctions, becoming the 10th person to plead guilty in a U.S. probe of the practice, authorities said.
Wiley Chandler pleaded guilty in federal court in Sacramento, California, to conspiring with other real estate investors to rig bids at real estate foreclosure auctions in San Joaquin County, according to a statement today by the U.S. Justice Department and federal prosecutors in Sacramento.
“After the conspirators’ designated bidder bought a property at a public auction, they would hold a second, private auction, at which each participating conspirator would bid the amount above the public auction price,” according to the statement. “The conspirator who bid the highest amount at the end of the private auction won the property.”
The difference between the price at the public auction and that at the second auction was the group’s profit, according to the statement.
Chandler pleaded guilty to bid rigging, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. A defense attorney, Claudia Quiroz, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the plea.
Nine others have pleaded guilty in a scheme that ran from September 2008 to at least October 2009, prosecutors said.
The case is U.S. v. Chandler, 11-cr-00511, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (Sacramento).
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