On June 16, 2009, Harvey N. Nusbaum and Jeff W. Stollof, two Baltimore, MD businessmen, were indicted for conspiring to rig bids in tax lien auctions in Maryland.
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. Nusbaum and Mr. Stollof conspired with co-conspirators to rig these bids in Baltimore between 2002-2007. Both businessmen and their co-conspirators agreed to which specific tax liens they would bid for and agreed on specific bid amounts in certain auctions.
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. He is awaiting sentencing.