IN THE MATTER OF ROBERT E. ROTHMAN AN ATTORNEY AT LAW
Argued: November 16, 2017
Docket No. XIV-2012-0210E
A. Racz appeared on behalf of the Office of Attorney Ethics.
Raymond S. Londa appeared on behalf of respondent.
C Frost, Chair
Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme
Court of New Jersey.
matter was before us on a motion for final discipline filed
by the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE), pursuant to R.
1:20-13(c), following respondent's conviction in the
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
(USDC) of one count of violating the Sherman Act, 15
determine to impose a three-year, retroactive suspension.
was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1977 and the New York
bar in 1980. He has no prior final discipline in New Jersey.
May 10, 2012, the Court temporarily suspended respondent as a
result of his conviction in this matter, in re
Rothman, 210 N.J. 155 (2012). He remains suspended to
pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with one count
of Sherman Act Conspiracy, a violation of 15 U.S.C.
§1, which states as follows:
Every contract, combination in the form of trust or
otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce
among the several States, or with foreign nations, is
declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any
contract or engage in any combination or conspiracy hereby
declared to be illegal shall be deemed guilty of a felony,
and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not
exceeding $100, 000, 000 if a corporation, or, if any other
person, $1, 000, 000, or by imprisonment not exceeding 10
years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the
Information alleged that, through a partnership, respondent
purchased tax liens from municipalities located in New
Jersey. Various other individuals and entities not
named as defendants also participated with respondent as
coconspirators in the charged offense, performing acts and
making statements in furtherance of a bid-rigging scheme.
explained in the Information, when the owner of New Jersey
real estate fails to pay property, water, or sewer taxes, the
municipality in which the property is located may attach a
lien. If the lien remains unpaid, it may then be sold at a
tax lien auction. At auction, the value of the lien includes
the amount of unpaid property taxes, accrued interest, and
other applicable costs and penalties. Bidders at these
auctions include individuals, companies, and financial
to a competitive bidding process, bidders will bid on the
interest rate that the property owner will pay if and when
the tax lien is redeemed. Bidding begins at the statutory
maximum (eighteen percent) and may be driven down in the
bidding process to zero. Typically, the winning bidder has
the right to collect interest at the winning rate, as well as
the original lien amount and penalties. If the taxes,
interest, and penalties remain unpaid, the winning bidder may
foreclose on the property owner's right of redemption,
and take title to the property.
Information charged that, from approximately the spring 2000
until February 2009, respondent and the coconspirators
engaged in a scheme to suppress and eliminate competition in
the bidding process by submitting noncompetitive and
collusive bids at public auctions for tax liens in various
New Jersey municipalities. Respondent and the
coconspirators' combination and ...