Two Allen Co. realtors indicted for auction bid rigging
ALLEN COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) - A Western Kentucky District grand jury has indicted two Allen County realtors who allegedly conspired to rig auction bids at estate auctions in exchange for farmland and timber rights.
The indictment alleges that Barry Dyer and Mackie Shelton, along with co-conspirators, rigged bids during an auction on April 21, 2018 in Allen County for a tract of timber rights and hundreds of acres of farmland.
The indictment alleges that Shelton and Dyer accepted a $40,000 payout from others competing in the auction to stop bidding, prosecutors say.
“Collusion and bid rigging at farmland auctions undermine our nation’s vital farming industry, robbing farmers and their families of a fair price for their land and artificially suppressing farmland values relied on for financing throughout the national Farm Credit System,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “The division has a long history of ensuring the integrity of real estate auctions and will continue to prosecute those who choose to break the law and line their own pockets at the expense of others. With support from our law enforcement partners, the Antitrust Division will hold accountable anyone who conspires to deprive the American farmer of competitive pricing – whether on the crops they sell or the farmland they use to grow them.”
“The allegation contained in the indictment charges a serious violation of the law and serves notice to would be fraudsters who plan to cheat hard working Western Kentucky farmers via the auction process that they will face robust criminal investigation and swift federal prosecution,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett for the Western District of Kentucky.
“American farmers are critical to our country’s vitality, and the FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect their right to operate in an environment that fosters fair practice and is free of corruption,” said Assistant Director Calvin Shivers of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “These charges demonstrate the FBI’s dedication to uncovering corrupt criminal activity and holding individuals like Dyer and Shelton, who allegedly attempted to cheat the system by conspiring to rig bids and profit from the hard work of others, accountable for their actions.”
Shelton and Dyer are charged with a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
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