Former Orange County Auctioneer Sentenced to Two Years in Federal Prison After Pleading Guilty in Bribery Scheme
SANTA ANA, CA—An Orange County auctioneer who defrauded banks by accepting bribes to lower the amount of winning bids in trustee auctions was sentenced today to 24 months in federal prison, announced Acting United States Attorney Stephanie Yonekura and Bill L. Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
Reyna Peinado, 48, of Huntington Beach was sentenced this afternoon by United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford.
According to a plea agreement filed in this case, Peinado conspired with a confederate—identified in court papers by the initials “S.F.”—in a scheme to defraud banks. During the scheme, which started in February 2012 and lasted for about three months, Peinado conducted real estate auctions on the steps of the Orange County Courthouse on behalf of a trustee known as Reliable Posting and Publishing (RPP), which represented banks which held title of the foreclosed properties. Peinado began the auctions with an opening bid for a property located in Orange County, and attendees would then call out bids, all of which the defendant would tally before declaring a winning bidder. Once the trustee sales were conducted, Peinado called in the sale price and used an overnight courier to send a receipt of funds and cashiers’ checks from the winning bidder to RPP, which posted the sale price on the website for the property.
At the conclusion of some of the trustee sales, Peinado contacted the winning bidder to solicit a bribe in order to reduce the purchase price of the property. In return for approximately $5,000 per property, Peinado reduced the sale price from between $15,000 to $57,000 less than the winning bid purchase price. By reducing the purchase price on seven properties, Peinado caused approximately $261,500 in losses to the banks.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.