US: 3 Northern California men convicted in bid-rigging scheme

Three Northern California men, including one of Oakland’s largest landlords, were convicted Friday of creating a massive bid-rigging scheme to scoop up hundreds of foreclosed properties at suppressed prices, US Department of Justice officials said.

A federal jury convicted Michael Marr, Javier Sanchez and Gregory Casorso of conspiring to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Alameda County between June 2008 and January 2011.

Marr and Sanchez also were convicted of similar charges in Contra Costa County.

Under the scheme, the men and other conspirators predetermined the winning bidders for selected properties and agreed not to compete with them at public auctions in return for payoffs. Then, officials said, they would hold a second, private round of auctions to award the properties to conspirators who submitted the highest bid.

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