A Georgia real estate investor pleaded guilty this week to property bid rigging and mail fraud, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Atlanta division.
Trent Gaines admitted to conspiring with other developers to not bid against each other in public foreclosure auctions held in two Georgia counties between September 2006 and February 2011.
Gaines and his collaborators would then conduct a separate auction among themselves in order to receive payoffs and divert the money away from lien holders and in some cases the defaulted borrower in the transaction.
The conspirators would then proceed to sell the properties to each other through a private auction.
"This case again illustrates not only the problems regarding bid rigging at real estate auctions in Georgia but also the federal efforts involved in shutting this type of criminal activity down," said Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson, in the FBI's Atlanta Division, in a press release.
Nine other lawsuits have been filed in relation to this ongoing investigation.