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From Antitrust Law Daily, March 16, 2017

California real estate investor sentenced to 12 months in prison for rigging bids

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

Real estate investor John Michael Galloway, who pleaded guilty in in November 2016 for his role in bid rigging and fraud scheme at foreclosure auctions in California's Contra Costa County, has been sentenced to serve 12 months of imprisonment. The Department of Justice announced today that, in addition to serving prison time, Galloway must pay a $74,899 fine as well as $265,050 in restitution to his victims. The sentencing took place on March 15 (U.S. v. Galloway, Case No. 4:14-cr-00607-JD).

Galloway was indicted, along with four other individuals, in 2014. In addition to Galloway, the indictment named: Charles Rock, Nicholas Diaz, Glenn Guillory, and Thomas Joyce.

According to the government, between June 2008 and January 2011, Galloway conspired with others not to bid against one another. The conspirators designated a winning bidder to obtain selected properties at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Contra Costa County. At second, private auctions, sometimes held on the courthouse steps, the conspirators awarded properties to members of the conspiracy and determined payoffs for other conspirators who had agreed not to bid against each other at the public auctions, it was alleged.

Like Galloway, Rock and Diaz also pleaded guilty. Rock was the first in the group to plead guilty in October 2016. Galloway pleaded guilty in November 2016, as did Diaz. In February, the Department of Justice announced that a federal jury had convicted Joyce. The court had severed Guillory’s case and continued the trial indefinitely. The Justice Department did not comment on the status of that case. According to the Justice Department, the government’s investigation into bid rigging at public real estate foreclosure auctions in California’s San Francisco, San Mateo, and Contra Costa counties is ongoing.

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