Another company has pleaded guilty in what federal prosecutors say was a scheme to rig tax lien bids in New Jersey.

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Burlington-based Mercer S.M.E. entered his plea after a felony charge was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Newark. Prosecutors say the company was assigned municipal tax liens that it knew were purchased at auction as part of the scheme.

Prosecutors say participants conspired 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.

The investors participated in the scheme from 2000 to February 2009.

Eight people and three companies have now pleaded guilty in the scheme.


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