Father and son real estate investors in Mobile, Ala., have been indicted on charges of participating in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure actions held in Southern Alabama, the Department of Justice said.
The department said the pair, Robert Brannon of Lauren, Miss., and Jason R. Brannon of Mobile, respectively, and their Mobile-based company, J & R Properties, conspired with others not to bid against one another at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Southern Alabama. After the designated bidder bought a property at public auction, they allegedly held a secret auction where each participant would bid the amount above the public auction price he or she was willing to pay. The highest bidder at the second auction won the property.
The Brannons and their company were also charged with conspiring to use the U.S. mail to carry out the scheme, to make and receive payoffs to co-conspirators, and to cause financial institutions, homeowners and others with a legal interest in the properties to receive less than the competitive price.
The alleged rigged auctions occurred as early as October 2004 and continued until at least August 2007.
The full report can be found here.