The last of five California real estate investors facing federal antitrust charges pleaded guilty last month in federal court. Abraham Farag, 45, pleaded guilty to one Sherman Act violation. At his sentencing, he faces a maximum of ten years in prison and a $1M fine.
Farag admitted to conspiring with other investors to pre-determine the results of public real estate foreclosure auctions. The group also decided privately who among them would end up with the properties. The other four co-conspirators separately entered guilty pleas earlier this year.
As part of the plea deal, Farag agreed not to challenge a sentence that fit within the range specified in the plea agreement. If the court determines that a longer sentence is appropriate, he can appeal. He will return to court in March for sentencing.
Originally, the court intended to hear Farag’s case in January, but the plea agreement eliminated the need for a trial. The Department of Justice led the investigation into Northern California real estate auctions. To date, the investigation has produced 74 guilty pleas or convictions.
The case drew significant attention because several defendants complained that the FBI overreached in its recordings of some of the conspirators. While the judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, found in favor of the defendants, he determined that the illegal recordings did not undermine the DOJ’s entire case. Despite the disallowed evidence, federal prosecutors won convictions using evidence from other sources.
California Antitrust Attorney
If this case demonstrates anything, it shows the power of federal prosecutors. Even when the court disallows significant evidence, federal prosecutors can still win their cases. If it means nothing else, when you face antitrust charges, hire an experienced antitrust attorney like Robert Helfend.
Mr. Helfend has nearly 35 years of experience in federal criminal defense. He’ll work hard to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. When that’s not possible, he will work to get the best possible outcome for your case.
Don’t rely on an inexperienced attorney, or one who is more interested in settling than fighting. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County antitrust case.
Photo Credit: Taber Andrew Bain, via Flickr.com