WASHINGTON—Two Northern California real estate investors pleaded guilty for their roles in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California, the Department of Justice announced.
Felony charges were filed on June 30, 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland against Grant Alvernaz, of Pleasant Hill, California, and Douglas Moore, of Walnut Creek, California. Alvernaz pleaded guilty to the charges on September 7, 2011. Moore pleaded guilty to the charges on August 24, 2011. The charges and the guilty pleas were unsealed yesterday. Including Alvernaz and Moore, a total of 46 individuals have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigation into bid rigging and fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California.
According to court documents, Alvernaz and Moore conspired with others not to bid against one another, and instead to designate a winning bidder to obtain selected properties at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, California.
Alvernaz and Moore were also charged with conspiring to commit mail fraud by fraudulently acquiring title to selected Contra Costa and Alameda County properties sold at public auctions and making and receiving payoffs and diverting money to co-conspirators that would have gone to mortgage holders and others by holding second, private auctions open only to members of the conspiracy.
The department said that the selected properties were then awarded to the conspirators who submitted the highest bids in the second, private auctions. The private auctions often took place at or near the courthouse steps where the public auctions were held. Alvernaz and Moore pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracies in Contra Costa County beginning as early as February 2009 and continuing until in or about December 2010 and in Alameda County from as early as March 2009 and continuing until about November 2010. For more information >FBI_PressRelease_March11_2014
Regarding our local golf course scene: It smacks of conspiracy and collusion that the Hi-Desert Water District called an illegal “Emergency Meeting” with one hour notice to meet with the Brehm representatives the day before the foreclosure sale on the golf course to agree not to bid against them at the auction. This is a property with valuable water rights that the HDWD was pursuing…spending thousands of dollars in legal fees and then they just laid down to allow the Brehm company be the sole bidder. The water rights will cost the HDWD rate payers $150,000-$200,000 per year and will escalate as the cost of water increases.
The Hi-Desert Star is sitting on my Soapbox submitted 3 weeks ago questioning why the big golf course lake was filled at the height of the drought and spelling out the foreclosure statistics. The Editor asked me to remove the word “illegal” to describe the HDWD meeting, which I did and resubmitted. Still waiting for publication.
Here is my previous post> “Hi-Desert Water District Calls Illegal Meeting.”
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