Several Bay Area real estate investors have agreed to plead guilty for conspiring to rig bids and commit mail fraud at foreclosure auctions, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
The investors named include Silicon Valley residents Gary Anderson of Saratoga and Troy Kent of San Mateo.
The government said six other people plan to plead guilty: Patrick Campion of San Francisco; James Doherty of Hillsborough; Keith Goodman of San Francisco; Craig Lipton of San Francisco; Henry Pessah of Burlingame; and Laith Salma of San Francisco.
Charges were filed against the eight investors on Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the department said.
According to the charges, the investors conspired to “rig bids” by agreeing not bid against each other at public foreclosure auctions in San Francisco and San Mateo counties.
According to the department, the investors conspired mainly to “suppress and restrain competition” and “conceal payoffs” in order to obtain certain real estate offered at the auctions.
The investors were also charged with conspiracies to use the mail to carry out a “fraudulent scheme to make payoffs to obtain title” for certain properties, as well as to receive payoffs and divert money to co-conspirators, the department said.
The conspiracy took place over various lengths of time between November 2008 and January 2011, the department said.
Three of the investors participated in the conspiracy in San Francisco. Anderson, Kent and three other investors were involved in San Mateo County, the Justice Department said.
The Justice Department noted that when real estate is sold at a foreclosure auction, the proceeds are used to pay off the mortgage and other debt attached to the property. The remaining proceeds, if any exist, are paid to the homeowner.
Eli Segall covers finance, law and sports business at the Business Journal. His phone number is 408.299.1829.
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