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Monday, December 9, 2019

Land buyers claim auction firm engaged in fraud to run up price

By Michael Abella | Dec 23, 2016

Law money 10

BELLEVILLE — A land auction business is being sued for allegedly engaging in shill or ghost bidding to raise prices at auctions.

The Dennis M. Kleinschmidt and Diana K. Kleinschmidt Joint Revocable Trust #1, by trustee Dennis Kleinschmidt, and The Mary Kim Fuller Living Trust, by trustee Mark Furrer, filed a complaint on Nov. 14 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Brad Schaller, individually, and Schaller Auction Services, alleging they violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that on Nov. 18, 2014, they participated in an auction performed by Schaller Auction Services in Millstadt. They claim the defendants unlawfully engaged in shill or ghost bidding to raise the price of the land.

As a result of defendants' alleged deception, the plaintiffs suffered economic losses by overpaying for property and lost opportunity for profit.

The plaintiffs hold the defendants responsible because they allegedly intentionally failed to register and approve all bidders present and failed to record all biddings.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek judgment in their favor in excess of $50,000 for each plaintiff, plus attorneys' fees and costs.

They are represented by Donald K. Schoemaker and James A. Bock of Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale PC in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 16--L-601

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St. Clair County Circuit Court