Investors Plead Guilty to Rig Bids at New Jersey Municipal Tax Auctions
by Frank L. Brunetti on October 3, 2013
Two financial investors who purchased municipal tax liens pleaded guilty today for their roles in a conspiracy to rig bids at auctions conducted by New Jersey municipalities for the sale of those tax liens, the Department of Justice announced.
A felony charge was filed today in U.S. District Court against Robert U. Del Vecchio Sr., of
Hawthorne, N.J. who according to the charge, from 2000 until December 2008, participated in a conspiracy to rig bids at auctions for the sale of municipal tax liens by agreeing to allocate among certain bidders which liens each would bid on. Additionally, a felony charge was filed against Michael Mastellone, of Cedar Knolls, N.J. for participating in a similar conspiracy from 2000 until February 2009. The department said that Del Vecchio Sr. and Mastellone proceeded to submit bids in accordance with the agreements and purchased tax liens at collusive and noncompetitive interest rates.
"By conspiring to rig the bids of municipal tax liens, the conspirators profited at the
expense of those already struggling financially," said Scott D. Hammond, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division's criminal enforcement program. "Protecting Americans from these types of bid-rigging schemes remains a high priority for the division."
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