Plaintiff States sought restitution on behalf of all persons injured as a result of Defendants alleged bid-rigging scheme. The Plaintiff States claim that defendants conducted their own secret bidding sessions prior to the public auctions. At the sessions, the highest bidder for a particular lot of stamps agreed to bid up to that price at the auction and the losing bidders agreed to refrain
from bidding on that particular lot. The States complaint contends that the alleged scheme to rig bids at public stamp auctions resulted in less competition at public auctions, sellers receiving lower prices, and auction houses receiving reduced commissions. In order to settle the case, the Defendants agreed to pay approximately $700,000 in restitution and agreed to a court order barring them from contributing or engaging in the challenged practices. The settlement sum was used to pay back dollar for dollar all the individuals that were identified as being injured by the conspiracy. Also, the settlement was used
to pay up to 10% of the value of lots consigned by individuals who sold at auctions. An additional 10% of the settlement went to the auction house as compensation for lost commissions. New York’s investigation caused parties to seek amnesty from the Department of Justice, which conducted a grand jury investigation and secured guilty pleas.