A financial investor from New York has pleaded guilty in what prosecutors say was a scheme to rig tax lien bids in New Jersey.

Robert Rothman entered his plea after a felony charge was filed Tuesday in a New Jersey federal court.

Prosecutors say Rothman admitted conspiring to purchase municipal tax liens at higher interest rates than they would otherwise fetch at a competitive auction. As a result, property owners had to pay higher rates than they would if their liens were purchased in a fair bidding process.

Prosecutors say Rothman and other investors participated in the scheme from 2000 to February 2009, agreeing among themselves which liens each would bid on to ensure non-competitive rates.

Rothman will cooperate with the department's ongoing investigation.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)