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From Antitrust Law Daily, June 10, 2016

Georgia real estate auction bidding probe nets four more investors

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

Four real estate investors have been charged in the ongoing Department of Justice Antitrust Division investigation of Georgia real estate foreclosure auctions. Charges were filed in the federal district court in Atlanta against Jeffrey Wayne Brock, David Wallace Doughty, and Stanley Ralph Sullivan on June 7 and against James R. Patterson, Jr. the next day. It is expected that all four will plead guilty to the charges (U.S. v. Brock, Case No. 1:16-cr-00195-MHC; U.S. v. Patterson, Case 1:16-cr-00196-TWT).

According the two-count information naming Brock, Dought, and Sullivan, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to rig bids at foreclosure auctions in Georgia's Cobb County. The alleged conspiracy lasted from around June 2007 through January 2012. The government also charged Brock, Dought, and Sullivan with conspiring to commit bank fraud. Among other things, in carrying out the conspiracy, the individuals suppressed purchase prices to be paid to financial institutions and made false representations to agents of the financial institutions.

Patterson was charged in a separate two-count information with conspiring to rig bids at foreclosure auctions in Georgia's Gwinnett County. His alleged participation in the conspiracy lasted from May 2007 to November 2011. Patterson also was charged with conspiring to commit bank fraud.

Ongoing investigation. The recent filings follow earlier changes against more than a dozen individuals. Nearly all of the defendants charged in the ongoing probe have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty. In February, two individuals—Douglas L. Purdy and Clifford Wayne Hill—rejected plea deals, and now each faces indictments, alleging one count of bid rigging and multiple counts of bank fraud.

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