A federal judge sentenced five California real estate investors for their role in an antitrust scheme. The five defendants all participated in real estate foreclosure auctions. Prior to the auction, the defendants decided among themselves who would bid and win the auctions in San Mateo County. Two of the defendants also participated in auctions in San Francisco County.
Between 2008 and 2011, the defendants agreed not to bid against each other for certain properties. They negotiated payoffs among themselves in exchange for not competing. The scheme had the effect of lowering auction prices for foreclosed real estate. This impacted foreclosed property owners, who relied on proceeds from the sales to eliminate their debts or recover their equity.
The judge sentenced Joseph Giraudo to 15 months in prison, three years of supervised release and a $2 million fine. Kevin Cullinane will serve eight months in prison, three years of supervised release and a $500,000 fine. Raymond Grinsell will serve 10 months in a halfway house and two years of supervised release. He must also pay more than $1.4 million in fines and $156,000 in restitution. Daniel Rosenbledt will serve six months in prison and three years of supervised release. He must also pay a $1.2 million fine, and $127,000 in restitution. The fifth defendant, Mohammed Rezaian, will serve four years of probation, with six months in a halfway house. He must also pay $1.2 million in fines and $110,000 in restitution.
The convictions are the result of real estate fraud investigations around the country. The Department of Justice has charged dozens of individuals in unrelated bid rigging schemes since 2015. Most of the foreclosure auctions occurred following the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008-2012. The government has won the majority of its antitrust convictions to date in California, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.
California Antitrust attorney
When you face federal charges of bid rigging, price fixing or market allocation, hire an experienced criminal antitrust attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of criminal courtroom defense and will work aggressively to defend you.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County antitrust case.
Photo Credit: Niall Kennedy, via Flickr.com