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Stamp dealer charged with rigging bids

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

PHILADELPHIA -- A stamp dealership is accused of rigging bids at auctions in the United States and Europe over almost two decades, the Justice Department said.

Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Inc. and executive vice president John Apfelbaum were charged Monday with conspiring with unnamed others to submit "collusive, noncompetitive and rigged bids," prosecutors said.

Authorities said about $20 million in stamps were sold at the periodic public auctions in the United States and Europe.

The Justice Department said the defendants took part in pre-auctions to determine which dealer would bid for specific lots of stamps. They agreed not to bid against dealers who submitted the highest bid in the pre-auction and paid dealers who agreed not to bid at the public auctions, prosecutors said.

The felony charges carry a maximum fine of $10 million for a corporation and three years in prison and a $350,000 fine for an individual.

There was no comment from the defendants Tuesday. A message left for John Apfelbaum was not immediately returned.


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