Inquiring minds are wondering how many more unscrupulous brokers are out there rigging bids? There is at least one fewer of these brokers than before.
Richard W. Northcutt, 56, a Stockton real estate executive pleaded guilty Friday to conspiring to rig bids and commit mail fraud. Mr. Northcutt admitted that he and other investors bought more than $10 million of foreclosed homes at artificially low prices before reselling and splitting the profits:
Richard W. Northcutt, 56, is the fourth person to plead guilty in a federal investigation of anti-competitive practices in real estate foreclosure auctions throughout Northern California.
“By rigging public auctions of foreclosed properties, the defendants who have pleaded guilty as a result of this investigation illegally manipulated the market for residential real estate,” said Benjamin Wagner, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California.
Northcutt pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Sacramento to one count of bid rigging, a violation of the federal Sherman Antitrust Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The fine can be increased to twice the gain from the crime or twice the victim’s loss.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, and a $1 million fine.
Let us all hope that each and every one of these scumbags is caught and punished to the full extent of the law.
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