Crime - Sacto 911

Ten investors sentenced in real estate bid-rigging case

Ten Northern California real estate investors were sentenced Monday for their roles in San Joaquin County-based bid-rigging and mail fraud conspiracies involving real estate purchased at foreclosure auctions.

The primary purpose of the conspiracies was to suppress and restrain competition, and to conceal payoffs to obtain selected real estate offered in San Joaquin County public foreclosure auctions at noncompetitive prices, according to a U.S. attorney’s office news release. When properties are sold at these auctions, the proceeds are used to pay off the mortgage and other debt attached to the property, with the remaining proceeds, if any, paid to the homeowner. According to court documents, those involved in the conspiracies paid and received money that otherwise would have gone to pay off the mortgage and other holders of debt secured by the properties.

Sentenced Monday in federal court in Sacramento:

▪ Anthony B. Ghio of Stockton was sentenced to five months in prison and ordered to pay a $1 million criminal fine and $214,544 in restitution to the victims of the crime.

▪ John R. Vanzetti of Stockton was sentenced to five months in prison and ordered to pay a $1 million criminal fine and $271,454 in restitution to the victims.

▪ Theodore B. Hutz of Stockton was sentenced to five months in prison and ordered to pay a $250,000 criminal fine and $76,670 in restitution to the victims.

▪ Richard Northcutt of Stockton was sentenced to seven months in prison and ordered to pay a $1 million criminal fine and $614,982 in restitution to victims.

▪ Kennen A. Swanger of Alta was sentenced to five months in prison and ordered to pay a $5,000 criminal fine.

▪ Wiley C. Chandler of Stockton was sentenced to seven months in prison and ordered to pay a $500,000 criminal fine and $614,982 in restitution to victims.

▪ Walter Daniel Olmstead of San Francisco was sentenced to eight months in prison and ordered to pay $29,687 in restitution to victims.

▪ Gregory L. Jackson of Lodi was ordered to pay a $150,000 criminal fine and $20,900 in restitution to victims.

▪ Robert Rose of Danville was ordered to pay a $100,000 criminal fine and $24,128 in restitution to the victims.

▪ Anthony B. Joachim of Stockton was ordered to pay a $175,000 criminal fine and $94,154 in restitution to the victims. Two other real estate investors, Andrew B. Katakis and Donald M. Parker, were convicted at trial of bid rigging in March 2014.

A total of 13 individuals pleaded guilty or were convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in connection with this investigation, authorities said. The sentences announced Tuesday resulted from an ongoing investigation by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, the FBI’s Sacramento Division and the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.

Anyone with information concerning bid rigging or fraud related to real estate foreclosure auctions is advised to call the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco office at 415-934-5300 or visit the Department of Justice website, www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm. Information also may be reported to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California at 916-554-2700 or the FBI’s Sacramento Division at 916-481-9110.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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