2 Bay Area men sentenced for mail fraud, rigging bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Two Bay Area men were among 10 other people sentenced on Monday for rigging bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions and mail fraud in San Joaquin County, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Walter Olmstead, of San Francisco, was sentenced to eight months in prison . He will also be ordered to pay about $30,000 in restitution to the victims.

Danville resident Robert Rose was sentenced to pay $100,000 in fines and about $24,000 in restitution to his victims.

Eight others from Stockton and elsewhere outside of the Bay Area were also sentenced in the scheme, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said the purpose of the bid rigging and mail fraud was to limit competition and conceal payoffs in the sale of properties at San Joaquin County auctions.

The less-than-competitive foreclosure auctions allowed the defendants to pay less than the market rate for properties.

The proceeds from the auctions are used to pay off mortgages on homes and any debt attached to the properties, with any remaining amount going to the homeowner.

Court documents show that the defendants received money that would have gone to mortgage and other debt holders, according to prosecutors.

Thirteen people pleaded guilty or were convicted in connection with the investigation, which was done in connection with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was created to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.

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