By Jeffrey May, J.D.
Alvin Florida Jr., a Northern California real estate investor who was convicted in December 2016 of conspiring to rig bids at foreclosure auctions was sentenced to prison today. The Department of Justice announced that Florida was ordered to serve 21 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. In addition to his term of imprisonment, Florida was fined $325,803 (U.S. v. Florida, Case No. 4:14-cr-00582-PJH).
Florida was among four investors convicted by a federal jury late last year on one count of conspiracy to rig bids between May 2008 and December 2010. Robert Alhashash Rasheed, John Lee Berry III, and Refugio Diaz also were found guilty for their roles in the conspiracy. The four were named in a 2014 indictment, which asserted that the investors agreed not to compete at public auctions in return for payoffs and diverted money to themselves and others that should have gone to mortgage holders and other beneficiaries. Attempts to overturn the convictions failed.
According to the Justice Department, today’s sentence is a result of an ongoing investigation into bid rigging at public real estate foreclosure auctions in California’s Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Mateo counties. More than 50 individuals have been charged in the probe. Investigations into similar conduct in Alabama, Georgia, and elsewhere also have netted investors who rigged bids at foreclosure auctions.
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