On June 3, 2008, Steven L. Berman, a Maryland tax lien agent, pled guilty and agreed to pay $750,000 for his role in rigging bids in tax lien auctions in several Maryland counties. Mr. Berman is likely to face a period of incarceration up to 10 years.
If a property owner in Maryland fails to pay his/her property taxes, the State government imposes a lien. If the taxes are still unpaid, the tax liens are sold at auction. The winner of the auction then gets the right to collect the taxes plus interest owed on the property along with foreclosure rights if taxes are still unpaid. Mr. Berman was accused of rigging these bids in Baltimore City and other counties including Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s between early 2004 and August 2007.