fbpx

California Home Foreclosures Bid Rigging and Collusion Class Action

When someone has been convicted of criminal acts and placed on probation, shouldn’t they be careful not to engage in similar actions? Plaintiff Wallace Francis brings this class action alleging bid rigging against the defendants who have already been convicted of colluding in bid rigging.

The class proposed for this action includes all individuals whose property was sold in foreclosure sales in California that were tainted by defendants’ bid rigging activities and failure to give proper notice of the foreclosure sale, between July 20, 2013 and July 20, 2017.

The defendants include Michael A. Navone, Mohammed Rezaian, Faezah Ricci, Stephen Ricci, several of what the complaint terms “shell corporations”, and a number of “Does”, that is, persons who aided in the actions but whose names are unknown. In March 2014, Navone and Rezaian pleaded guilty to federal felony charges in a previous case of bid rigging in foreclosures in California, including the paying of bribes to ensure that otherwise interested bidders would not participate in foreclosure sales, that notices of foreclosures sales would not be properly published, and that locations would be in a small part of a large property, so that other interested bidders would not be able to find the sale in time.

Navone and Rezaian were on federal felony probation at the time covered by this complaint, which alleges that they are still engaging in the same bid-rigging behavior with a property owned by April Wagner, a sixty-two-year-old woman who lacks capacity to manage her own affairs.

April Wagner purchased the property in question in 2005, and from 2005-2013 she paid the mortgage on it. In 2011, she was involved in a motorcycle accident which put her in a coma and left her hospitalized for many months. After that, she lost capacity to manage her own affairs and her condition has steadily declined. Sometime in 2014, she ceased making her mortgage payments, even though she had the resources available for it. When she received notice of default and intent to foreclose from the bank, she did nothing and told no one.

When she was served with the notice of the foreclosure sale, she again did not take action and only incidentally mentioned it to her lawyers, while discussing another matter. The lawyers, Mark Clausen and Murray Zatman, followed up and attempted to postpone the foreclosure sale so that they could arrange payment of the arrears, but the trustee refused.

Law clerk Alex Zatman attended the foreclosure sale. Using their old tricks, the defendants had staged the sale in a large park, making it difficult for Zatman even to find the sale. While he was able to stop the sale, they resumed it the following day without proper notice and with only Navone and his wife in attendance, which permitted Navone to purchase the $500,000 property for $180,771.72—only 72 cents over what was owed on the mortgage. According to the complaint, Navone then transferred the property from one alleged shell corporation to another in ways that make it difficult to untangle the sale.

The plaintiff in this case, Wallace Francis, has been named guardian ad litem for Wagner, and is pursuing this case in an attempt to recover damages for her and others similarly taken advantage of by the defendants. 

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

California Home Foreclosures Bid Rigging and Collusion Complaint

July 20, 2017

Plaintiff Wallace Francis, guardian ad litem for April Wagner brings this class action alleging bid rigging in the foreclosure sale of her home while she was incapable of managing her own affairs. Previously, in March 2014, defendants Michael A. Navone and Mohammed Rezaian pleaded guilty to federal felony charges of bid rigging in foreclosure sales, including the paying of bribes to ensure that otherwise interested bidders would not participate in foreclosure sales, that notices of foreclosures sales would not be properly published, and that locations would be in a small part of a large property, so that other interested bidders would not be able to find the sale in time. The complaint alleges that, although the two are on federal probation, they and others used similar techniques in this case to deprive Wagner, a sixty-two-year-old woman, of her property at an outrageously low price, to enlarge their own profits.

california_foreclosure_bid_rigging_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

California Home Foreclosures Bid Rigging and Collusion Complaint

July 20, 2017

Plaintiff Wallace Francis, guardian ad litem for April Wagner brings this class action alleging bid rigging in the foreclosure sale of her home while she was incapable of managing her own affairs. Previously, in March 2014, defendants Michael A. Navone and Mohammed Rezaian pleaded guilty to federal felony charges of bid rigging in foreclosure sales, including the paying of bribes to ensure that otherwise interested bidders would not participate in foreclosure sales, that notices of foreclosures sales would not be properly published, and that locations would be in a small part of a large property, so that other interested bidders would not be able to find the sale in time. The complaint alleges that, although the two are on federal probation, they and others used similar techniques in this case to deprive Wagner, a sixty-two-year-old woman, of her property at an outrageously low price, to enlarge their own profits.

california_foreclosure_bid_rigging_complaint.pdf
Tags: Bid-Rigging, Collusion and Price Fixing, Unlawful Practices