Tax Sale Buyer Charged by Feds After Admitting in Open Court He Committed Crime

Testimony of Sergio Gutierrez, In Re The Matter of Flanagan v. Gutierrez, 45C01-1810-TP-01873. Full transcript available below.

Case implicates many others but local officials have taken no action on the matter

September 14, 2021-Almost two years to the day after admitting in open court that he committed a crime, Lake County tax sale buyer Sergio Gutierrez is facing federal charges. According to the federal indictment (see below), Gutierrez continued to exercise ownership over several properties even after they were allegedly sold twice at tax sale. According to the sworn documents, 4 properties owned by Gutierrez went to the Commissioner’s Certificate tax sale in 2015. Instead of paying the delinquent taxes, Gutierrez sent “Individual A” to the commissioner’s certificate sale to purchase the properties. Gutierrez continued to exercise ownership over the 4 properties despite the transfer to Individual A but continued to fail to pay taxes. According to the indictment, the properties were again offered for sale at a commissioner certificate sale and were bought by Individual B for $500. The feds allege that Gutierrez continued to exercise ownership over the properties and ultimately Individual B transferred the properties to Wilkerson Creek Quarry which is owned by Gutierrez. As the trial transcript above shows, Gutierrez admitted under oath that he knew this was a crime Lake Circuit Court. (See EXCLUSIVE: Insider Admits Lake County Tax Sale Fraud Scheme-http://nwigazette.com/2019/09/01/exclusive-lc-recorder-candidate-implicated-tax-sale-fraud-scheme/)

The properties were purchased for sums between $300 and $500 and ultimately sold to the casino for $675,000.00 In a pending civil suit, The Markley Family Trust has alleged that they were not properly noticed when the properties were taken via tax sale. Those cases are still pending but could ultimately have repercussions for the Hard Rock Casino.

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