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From Antitrust Law Daily, February 4, 2016

Georgia real estate investors indicted in bid rigging probe

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

As a result of an ongoing antitrust investigation of Georgia real estate foreclosure auctions, two more real estate investors have been charged with conspiring to rig bids. Douglas L. Purdy and Clifford Wayne Hill were named in two separate indictments filed yesterday in the federal district court in Atlanta. These latest filings bring the total number of defendants charged in connection with the investigation to 14 (U.S. v. Purdy, Case No. 1:16-cr-050; U.S. v. Hill, Case No. 1:16-cr-051).

According to the six-count indictment against Purdy, the investor conspired to rig bids and engaged in bank fraud at Forsyth County foreclosure auctions from 2008 to 2012. An eight-count indictment charges Hill with one count of bid rigging and seven counts of bank fraud related to public foreclosure auctions in Gwinnett County from 2007 to 2012.

The defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly rigged bids at public foreclosure auctions and defrauded banks that owned the mortgage notes. Among other methods, the conspirators allegedly held secret “second auctions” of properties they had obtained through rigged bids, dividing the auction proceeds that should have gone to pay off debts against the properties and, in some cases, to homeowners who had defaulted, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division announced.

The cases against Purdy and Hill are the first in the Georgia foreclosure auction probe asserting bank fraud. Among the financial institutions allegedly impacted were Bank of America, N.A., Citigroup, Inc., CitiMortgage, Inc., EMC Mortgage Corp., GMAC Mortgage Corp., JP Morgan Chase Bank, NA, LaSalle Bank, N.A., and Suntrust Banks, Inc.

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