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Price Fixing at Maryland Tax Sales!

June 4th, 2008 · 4 Comments

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Steven Berman has pleaded guilty on charges he conspired to fix bids at a number of Tax lien auctions in Maryland over a several year period. Mr Berman is the husband of Heidi Kenny, the attorney that I had reported won so many bids at the recent Baltimore City tax lien auction. See What is a Tax Sale? He will pay a $750,000 fine as well as face prison time. Given that his wife spent $16 million last month at the Baltimore City auction, I think he can afford the fine.

Last year the Sun had reported that the FBI raided offices of several tax sale bidders including Heidi Kenny. This article says that the FBI had witnessed attorney Harvey Nusbaum and Steven Berman signalling each other when to bid or not at the live Baltimore County auction last year. At the Anne Arundel County auction last year I saw three bidders who were winning virtually all the bids rotate bids among themselves. I also saw them signal each other when one was bidding and it was not his turn. I was surprised at how blatant it was and that auctioneer did nothing about it.

Apparently the investigation is ongoing and Mr Berman has agreed to cooperate. I am not worried, as  far as I know I am not a target of the investigation.

Happy investing and stay out of trouble,

Ned

Tags: real estate · Tax Liens

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lisa Mccray // Jul 7, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    There is indeed a just God. These people have literally terrorized Baltimore residents and extorted millions of dollars from them.
    There are a couple more that needs to be stopped.

  • 2 Will Harris (4 comments.) // May 17, 2009 at 3:16 am

    Life…this situation doesn’t surprise me….oh what people will do for even more money. 🙂

    Ned, whatever happened to these folks (Berman & Kennedy). My good nature hopes that things worked out, but I believe that scandals like this should be treated similar to the stock market…you are banded for trading and you should be banned from bidding.

    But, these poor cities are in such bad need for funds that they are probably less inclined to shrink their pool of financial contributors.

    Well, I am prepared to throw my hat in the ring this time around and see how fair the bidding process is. At least I can promise that I won’t be giving any signals over my little $1,300 budgeted bidding limit.

    🙂

  • 3 Ned // May 20, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    >Ned, whatever happened to these folks

    Berman paid a hefty fine, I think $750,000. I was expecting the other shoe to drop but I haven’t heard about any other actions against the others.

  • 4 Yury // Apr 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Perhaps a switch to online auctioning will fix the problem?

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