Friday, January 28, 2011

FBI investigates courthouse auction bids

The FBI is investigating whether some real estate speculators are illegally rigging bids for foreclosure auctions. Bid-rigging violates the Sherman Antitrust Act and can carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The maximum fine can be increased to twice the violator’s gain or twice the victim’s loss.

The FBI has been conducting interviews and executing search warrants throughout the San Francisco Bay Area to investigate whether some auction participants allegedly pay others to refrain from bidding on certain properties to keep their prices lows.

The FBI encourages anyone with knowledge of anti-competitive practices at foreclosure auctions to call its tip line at (415) 553-7400.

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