Man Pleads Guilty for Rigging Auctions

A Sacramento, Calif., man pleaded guilty Friday to rigging bids at public real estate auctions.

Anthony B. Ghio admitted in U.S. District Court to being one of a group of speculators who agreed not to outbid each other at foreclosure actions. According to court documents, after the speculators’ designated bidder bought a property at the foreclosure auction, the speculators held a second, private auction. The speculator who offered the highest bid at that auction won the property. The difference between the price at the public auction and the winning bid in the private auction was divided among the speculators.

Ghio is charged with a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

More indictments are expected in the investigation.

Source: The U.S. Department of Justice (04/16/2010)