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From Antitrust Law Daily, October 18, 2017

Another California real estate investor pleads guilty to bid rigging

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

The Department of Justice announced today that a total of 64 individuals have now pleaded guilty as a result of its long-running investigation into bid rigging at public real estate foreclosure auctions in California’s San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa, and Alameda counties. Real estate investor Raymond A. Grinsell pleaded guilty yesterday to two counts of bid rigging in the federal district court in San Francisco. Grinsell was charged, along with four other alleged co-conspirators, in 2014 (U.S. v. Grinsell, Case No. 3:14-cr-00534-CRB-2).

In addition to Grinsell, the eight-count indictment named Joseph Giraudo, Kevin Cullinane, James Appenrodt, and Abraham Farag with participating in conspiracies to rig bids and schemes to defraud mortgage holders and others from 2008 to 2011. Earlier this month, the government disclosed that Appenrodt pleaded guilty to two counts of bid rigging alleged in the indictment. In September, the Justice Department announced that Giraudo pleaded guilty to two counts of bid rigging, and Cullinane pleaded guilty to one count of bid rigging.

A change of plea hearing has been set for the remaining defendant, Farag, for October 25. A trial in the case has been scheduled for January 2018.

According to today’s Justice Department announcement, the government’s investigation is ongoing. However, the Justice Department has not announced a new charge in the probe in two years. Last year, similar charges were filed in Alabama and Georgia.

Attorneys: Andrew Nicholson-Meade for U.S. Department of Justice. Louis P. Feuchtbaum (Sideman & Bancroft LLP) for Raymond Grinsell.

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