A federal grand jury in Atlanta indicted two real estate investors on charges that they allegedly took part in a widespread foreclosure auction bid rigging scheme in Georgia, the Department of Justice announced this week.

According to the DOJ, Douglas Purdy was charged with one count of bid rigging and five counts of bank fraud for participating in the alleged conspiracy and scheme at Forsyth County, Georgia, foreclosure auctions from 2008 to 2012. 

While Clifford Hill was charged with one count of bid rigging and seven counts of bank fraud related to public foreclosure auctions in Gwinnett County, Georgia, from 2007 to 2012. 

According to the DOJ, Purdy and Hill are the 13th and 14th individuals charged in connection with its ongoing investigation into bid rigging and fraudulent schemes involving real estate foreclosure auctions in the Atlanta area.

All 12 previously charged individuals pleaded guilty.

According to the DOJ, Purdy, Hill and their co-conspirators allegedly rigged bids at public foreclosure auctions and defrauded banks that owned the mortgage notes. 

The conspirators allegedly held secret “second auctions” for properties they obtained through rigged bids, dividing the auction proceeds that should have gone to pay off debts against the properties and, in some cases, to homeowners who had defaulted, the DOJ said.

“These defendants corrupted public foreclosure auctions in Georgia to keep for themselves money that rightfully belonged to banks and homeowners,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Those who illegally enrich themselves at the expense of financially distressed homeowners and their lenders should be held accountable for their crimes.”