Man Pleads Guilty to Bid Rigging at Auctions

March 7, 2011

A Northern California man has pleaded guilty to rigging bids at foreclosure auctions in Sacramento’s San Joaquin County, a county known as one of the hardest hit economies in recent years from high foreclosures, unemployment, and bankruptcy rates.

Yama Marifat, 38, of Pleasanton, Calif., could face up to 10 years in prison for bid rigging and 30 years for mail fraud, as well as up to $2 million or more in fines.

Prosecutors say Marifat and a group of real estate speculators sought to keep prices down low at San Joaquin County public foreclosure auctions by agreeing not to bid against one another. The group would then later hold a private auction, and they would split the difference between the prices at the public and private auctions as a payoff among themselves, prosecutors say.

Marifat is the fifth person to plead guilty in connection with the county’s bid rigging investigation.

Source: “Calif. Man Pleads Guilty to Foreclosure Bid Rigging,” Associated Press (March 4, 2011)