Antitrust Law

2nd Lawyer Takes Plea in NJ Tax-Lien Bid-Rigging Case; Federal Probe Is Ongoing

A second lawyer has taken a plea in a federal case over alleged collusive bidding in sales of tax liens in New Jersey.

Robert E. Rothman, 59, a lawyer and owner of Rothman Realty Corp. in Englewood, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Newark to bid-rigging at auctions between 2000 and 2009, reports Bloomberg.

His lawyer, Robert Cleary, who formerly served as U.S. attorney in New Jersey, declined to comment. Rothman was released on $100,000 unsecured bond pending sentencing in July. Rothman could get as much as 10 years but likely will face much less time if he cooperates.

Previously, attorney Robert W. Stein, a co-owner of tax-lien firms with a company that operates banks in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, also pleaded guilty, the article notes.

“The Antitrust Division’s investigation into municipal tax liens is ongoing and active,” said acting assistant attorney general Sharis A. Pozen in a written statement. “The division will not tolerate this kind of illegal conduct that harms distressed homeowners.”

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