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AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Gwinnett man is 22nd convicted for rigging bids at foreclosure auctions

On the long list of those who profited from the misery of the Atlanta-area foreclosure crisis, you can add the name of Clifford Wayne Hill.

For more than four years, Hill, who conducted business through his company SalesForce Inc., conspired with others to rig foreclosure auctions in Gwinnett County, a federal indictment charged.

On Friday, Hill pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme, the Justice Department announced. He and fellow fraudsters submitted artificially low bids for the properties, depriving mortgage-holders and the home owners of money that might otherwise have gone to them, prosecutors said.

The group then held secret side-auctions to determine which schemer would get a specific property. Among the properties were homes in Suwanee, Buford, Dacula and Hoschton, court records show.

Hill is scheduled to be sentenced June 1.

By the government's tally, he is the 22nd real estate investor to have pleaded guilty in the ongoing federal investigation of bid-rigging and fraud related to public foreclosure auctions in the Atlanta area.

Charges are still pending against one other person, Douglas L. Purdy.  His trial is scheduled for June 5, court records show. Purdy bought property at public foreclosure auctions in Forsyth County, according to a federal indictment. Beginning at least as early as July 2008 and continuing through at least December 2011, Purdy conspired to rig Forsyth County foreclosure auctions, the indictment alleges.

Among the properties were those in Cumming, Gainesville and Alpharetta, court records show.

The federal investigation has been going on for years. Read about others convicted in bid-rigging schemes here:

And here, with details on some of the earliest convictions:





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About the Author

Lois Norder is Senior Editor for Investigations in the newsroom at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.