3 Convicted Of Bid-Rigging In California Housing Scheme

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Three men have been convicted in Oakland of rigging bids to snatch up hundreds of foreclosed properties during the housing crisis.

A federal jury on Friday convicted Michael Marr, Javier Sanchez and Gregory Casorso of conspiracy.

Prosecutors say they rigged bids at public real estate auctions in Alameda County between June 2008 and January of 2011. Marr and Sanchez also were convicted of conspiracy to rig bids in Contra Costa County.

Authorities say the conspirators designated winners of certain properties at the public auctions — accepting payoffs not to compete — then immediately bid for the properties in their own private auctions.

Officials say that cheated lenders, taxpayers and distressed homeowners.

Federal authorities continue to investigate bid-rigging in Northern California. So far, 68 people have been convicted or pleaded guilty.

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