A federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California indicted Andrew Katakis for his alleged role in a real estate auction scam.
The office out of Sacramento officially charged Katakis with obstruction of justice of a federal investigation into conspiracies to rig bids at auctions held in San Joaquin County, Calif.
The remaining allegations are unchanged from the original indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on Dec. 7, 2011.
The pre-existing counts charge Katakis with conspiring with other unnamed co-conspirators to rig bids and commit mail fraud when purchasing selected properties at public real estate foreclosure auctions.
The charges that were added allege that after Katakis received a letter notifying him that a federal grand jury had subpoenaed his bank account, he caused the deletion of other electronic records and documents related to the conspiracies.
The overriding indictment claims Katakis also installed and forced others to install a software program that overwrote deleted electronic records and documents so that they could not be viewed or recovered.
"Obstruction of a grand jury investigation is a crime the Antitrust Division takes seriously," said Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. "We will prosecute those who subvert the competitive process, as well as those who attempt to conceal their illegal actions by destroying evidence."
The overruling indictment states that Katakis, Parker, Joachim, Longley and co-conspirators agreed to suppress and restrain competition by rigging bids to obtain selected properties offered at public auctions in San Joaquin County.
They also created a scheme to wrongly acquire titles to selected properties sold at the public auctions and to deter money to co-conspirators that would have gone to the beneficiaries.
The conspiracy lasted from September 2008 until October 2009, according to the indictment.
"This superseding indictment includes allegations that, in addition to the charges previously alleged, this defendant obstructed justice," said Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California. "The new charge arises out of a long-running investigation that has already resulted in guilty pleas by numerous other defendants who participated in the scheme charged in this case."
The conspirators are charged with bid rigging, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison plus a $1 million fine for individuals.
The conspiracy to commit mail fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
The newly added obstruction of justice charge against Katakis holds a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine.
To date, 10 individuals have pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in connection with the investigation: Anthony B. Ghio, John R. Vanzetti, Theodore B. Hutz, Richard W. Northcutt, Yama Marifat, Gregory L. Jackson, Walter Daniel Olmstead, Robert Rose, Kenneth Swanger and Chandler, the justice department said.