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One raw day in early February, Vicki Valentine stood by helplessly as real estate investors snatched her West Baltimore home over what began with an unpaid city water bill of $362.
As snow threatened to fall, she watched a work crew hired by the new owners punch out the lock on her front door. A sheriff’s deputy was on the scene while Valentine and her teenage son piled whatever they could into a borrowed car.
Running out of time, Valentine scrambled to pack up clothing and mementos.
Investors Made Millions from People Facing Eviction
A six-year conspiracy by veteran real estate investors to rig bids and stifle competition at tax sale auctions made two chief organizers at least $10 million, largely from fees homeowners paid to keep from losing their properties, according to federal prosecutors.
Though many details remain under seal in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, prosecutors allege that from 2002 through 2007 the pair acted to corrupt nearly two dozen municipal tax sales in Baltimore and five other Maryland jurisdictions, including Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.
Every year, local governments in Maryland sell investors the right to collect unpaid taxes and municipal fees, often for a few hundred dollars or less. Lien holders can sue to take the property of those who fail to pay them.
Originally posted by JacKatMtn
Does this seem fair?