Mississippi Real Estate Investors Jailed After Bid-Rigging Scheme

Nine real estate investors in southern Mississippi are facing jail time and hefty fines after violating federal antitrust laws, reports WLOX. On February 21, 2019, Christopher Vaughan and Jon Gregg Goodhart Jr. were ordered four months jail time for their part in a bid-rigging scheme.

WLOX reports that Vaughan and Goodhart Jr. conspired not to bid against each other on properties at real estate foreclosure auctions between 2009 and 2017. They predetermined a bid winner and exchanged payouts to their counterparts who did not compete against them in the bidding process.

Their illegal agreement prevented competition and drove property prices down. Vaughan was ordered to pay $20,000 in fines plus restitution. Ivan Spinner, Jason Boykin, Shannon Boykin, Kimberly Foster, Kevin Moore, Chad Nichols and Terry Tolar were also sentenced in a separate part of the same investigation.

They were sentenced to four months of jail plus fines between $20,000 to $48,000 and restitution to victims of their crimes. Bid rigging is market manipulation has been illegal since the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. Experts say bid rigging hurts free market competition as well as taxpayers and consumers.

Bid rigging comes in many forms, according to Investopedia:

  • Rotating the bid winner
  • Intentionally selecting bidders to sit out of the auction process to let someone else win
  • Placing uncompetitive bids to let another bidder win
  • “Phantom bidders” that place fake bids to spur real bidders to go higher than normal

Bid rigging and other ethical and legal topics are covered in our comprehensive continuing education classes.

The classes are available online from any Wi-Fi connection on tablet, computer or cellphone.

 


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Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Broker License

Michigan is one of the only real estate markets expected to grow in 2019. If you're ready to upgrade your salesperson license, here is everything you need to know.

How do I get a Michigan real estate broker license?

  1. Complete 90 hours of approved real estate coursework within 36 months of application, unless licensed continuously.
    All potential brokers in Michigan must complete an approved 90 Hour course. Real Estate Training Institute offers this course online in HD video so you can fit it into your busy schedule. The onscreen instructor, Gwyn Besner is available to answer any questions you have while taking the course.
    Note: if you have been a practicing attorney for 5 or more years you only need to take 30hrs to become a licensed broker.
  2. Submit your real estate license application. Go to www.michigan.gov/icola to apply for a license. Upon accessing iCOLA, you will be asked to create an account, pay your license fee, and submit your license application electronically.
    Note: You must have at least 3 years’ full-time experience as a real estate salesperson, or equivalent experience before applying as a broker (Rule 205).
  3. Register with PSI and pay the $76 exam fee.
    To schedule your exam date, call PSI at 1-800-733-9267. Use the 24/7 Automated Registration System or speak with a representative between 7:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. ET. You will be informed immediately after the exam whether you passed or not. PSI will import your exam data into your iCOLA record within 48 hours of successful completion of the exam.

Where is the Michigan real estate broker exam offered?

  • Gaylord
  • Grand Rapids
  • Holt
  • Marquette
  • Southfield

What are the initial real estate licensing fees in Michigan?

Michigan operates on three-year cycles so initial licensing fees decrease each year. 2018 is the last year of a licensing cycle to fees are as follows:
Brokers & Associate Brokers: $71
Branch Office: $30

Who do I contact at the state level about getting a Michigan real estate license?

Contact Information

Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Board of Real Estate Brokers & Salespersons
Website:  http://www.michigan.gov/realestate
Phone:  517-241-9288

Licensing References

Michigan Real Estate – Frequently Asked Questions
Michigan Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons — Occupational Code


Licensing Resources

Should You Get A Real Estate License?

Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Real Estate Salesperson

Why You Should Upgrade to A Broker License

 


ONLINE STATE-APPROVED 90-HOUR PRELICENSE COURSE

Why You Should Upgrade to A Broker License

If you are currently working as a real estate salesperson I have one question for you, why haven't you upgraded to a broker license? Brokers make more money and have more freedom to create their own schedules. While you must be licensed as a salesperson for three years before applying for a broker license, it is never too early to get started on your 90-hour prelicense program. Below are a few common questions and answers about obtaining a broker license.

Question 1: Why should I become a broker?

  • Be your own boss. As a salesperson, you work for a licensed broker. Getting a broker license means you can open your own practice and work alone or hire a team of salespeople to work under you. If you choose to work alone you can keep all of your commissions. If you choose to hire salespeople you can either keep a portion of their commissions or you can charge a variety of fees and allow your salespeople to keep all of their commission.
  • Make an average of $23,000 more per year. Brokers make more money whether they're working with salespeople or not. Between keeping their entire commission and receiving a cut of their salespeople's commission or yearly fees, they make an average of $23,000 more per year.
  • Increase your marketability. Individuals buying and selling high priced homes often prefer working with a broker. Brokers have a reputation for being industry experts with a strong dedication to the industry. As we all know, the higher the home price, the higher the commission!
  • Run your own property management company. Property management companies work as a middle man between tenants and property owners. Since the rental industry is hot right now, the ability to run a property management company is a big benefit.

Question 2: Why should I upgrade my license when the market is expected to decline?

Most experts are predicting a drop off in real estate sales over the next few years. Lucky for you, Michigan is expected to be exempt from the rest of the nation's decline.

Several sources believe Michigan's real estate market will continue to grow even as rising mortgage rates slow the market for sellers in other areas of the country. Home prices in Grand Rapids are forecast to grow at 8.2%, the largest home price increase in the nation. In fact, real estate resources nationwide are encouraging investment in Grand Rapids and the city comes in second for the hottest real estate markets for millennials.

Grand Rapids isn't the only area of Michigan experiencing growth. Numbers recently released by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's office show residential property values have increased by an average 12% in more than 90% of Detroit neighborhoods. The rest of the state is expected to experience continually growing housing prices but a declining number of homes on the market. While this may sound like bad news initially, growing home prices mean higher commission rates which can make up for the lower volume of sales.

In other words, while the rest of the country is preparing for a decreasing real estate market, Michigan can expect to see continued growth in urban areas and stable growth in the rural north. Additionally, even if the Michigan real estate market drops off after a few years, brokers are uniquely positioned to continue making a steady income since they receive a cut from all salespersons commissions.

Question 3: How do I get started?

  1. Complete 90 hours of approved real estate coursework within 36 months of application, unless licensed continuously.
    Note: if you have been a practicing attorney for 5 or more years you only need to take 30hrs to become a licensed broker.
  2. Submit your real estate license application. Go to www.michigan.gov/icola to apply for a license. Upon accessing iCOLA, you will be asked to create an account, pay your license fee, and submit your license application electronically.
  3. Register with PSI and pay the $76 exam fee

Find detailed instructions here.


Licensing Resources

Should You Get A Real Estate License?

Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Real Estate Salesperson

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Broker License

 


ONLINE STATE-APPROVED 90-HOUR PRELICENSE COURSE

Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Real Estate Salesperson

Michigan is one of the only real estate markets expected to grow in 2019. If you're ready to get licensed, here is everything you need to know.

How do I get a Michigan real estate salesperson license?

  1. Complete an approved 40 hour Michigan Real Estate Fundamentals Course.
    All potential salespeople in Michigan must complete an approved 40 Hour course. Real Estate Training Institute offers this course online in HD video so you can fit it into your busy schedule. The onscreen instructor, Gwyn Besner is available to answer any questions you have while taking the course.
  2. Submit your real estate license application.
    Go to www.michigan.gov/icola to apply for a license. Upon accessing iCOLA, you will be asked to create an account, pay your license fee, and submit your license application electronically.
    NOTE: You do not need to have a broker at the time you submit the license application. If you list your employing broker’s 10-digit number when applying, please inform your employer that you have submitted your license application. Your employing broker should then access his or her iCOLA account and confirm sponsorship.  Broker information may be supplied to the State of Michigan at a later time using the Employee Broker Notification Form. Your license application will remain in a “Pending” Status in their system until broker sponsorship is confirmed, or for one year from the date of application.
  3. Register with PSI and pay the $79 exam fee.
    To schedule your exam date, call PSI at 1-800-733-9267 or register online. Use the 24/7 Automated Registration System or speak with a representative between 7:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. ET.
  4. You will be informed immediately after the exam whether you passed or not. PSI will import your exam data into your iCOLA record within 48 hours of successful completion of the exam.  Once your exam score is received by the Department and your broker is confirmed, the State-issued paper wall license and a pocket card will be mailed to your employing broker’s main office.

Where is the Michigan real estate salesperson exam offered?

  • Gaylord
  • Grand Rapids
  • Holt
  • Marquette
  • Southfield

What are the initial real estate licensing fees in Michigan?

Michigan operates on a three-year cycle so initial licensing fees decrease each year. 2018 is the last year of a licensing cycle and fees are as follows:
Brokers & Associate Brokers: $71
Salesperson: $62
Branch Office: $30

Who do I contact at the state level about getting a Michigan real estate license?

Contact Information

Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Board of Real Estate Brokers & Salespersons
Website:  http://www.michigan.gov/realestate
Phone:  517-241-9288

Licensing References

Michigan Real Estate – Frequently Asked Questions
Michigan Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons — Occupational Code


Licensing Resources

Should You Get A Real Estate License?

Why You Should Upgrade to A Broker License

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Broker License

 


ONLINE STATE-APPROVED 40-HOUR PRELICENSE COURSE