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From Antitrust Law Daily, August 12, 2016

Two more guilty pleas entered in Georgia real estate auction bidding probe

By Greg Hammond, J.D.

Two Georgia real estate investors pleaded guilty yesterday to Department of Justice Antitrust Division charges that the individuals participated in bid rigging and fraud conspiracies involving real estate foreclosure auctions in the Atlanta area. A total of 22 defendants have been charged in the Antitrust Division’s ongoing investigation, 20 of whom have either pleaded guilty or have agreed to plead guilty (U.S. v. Galyon, Case No. 1:16-cr-247; U.S. v. Anderson, Case No. 1:16-cr-258).

The Antitrust Division filed charges against both Ellis Galyon and Christopher Anderson in July 2016. Galyon admitted to participating in the conspiracy in Fulton County between June 2007 and at least July 2011, the Antitrust Division announced. Similarly, Anderson admitted to participating in the conspiracy in Fulton County between December 2007 and October 2011 and in DeKalb County between September 2009 and November 2011.

Galyon and Anderson conspired not to compete for the purchase of certain foreclosed homes in the Atlanta area so that they could win the auctions for those properties using artificially low bids. The winning bidders would pay off co-conspirators who refrained from bidding on the selected properties. As a result of the conspiracy, the Antitrust Division alleged that Galyon and Anderson profited from money that otherwise would have gone to mortgage holders and other secured debt holders, as well as to some individuals who owned the foreclosed properties.

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