A U.S. District Court judge has rejected a plea agreement by Bill Mastro, accused of shill bidding customers at Mastro Auctions.
All signs pointed to a plea agreement between government prosecutors and Mastro’s attorney when the change of plea hearing was scheduled. However, on Tuesday afternoon, the judge in the fraud case said he needed more information before accepting the arrangement made between Mastro's attorney and federal prosecutors.
According to court papers, the hearing was postponed "in the interest of justice for the complexity of the
case." Bloomberg News reported that Judge Ronald A. Guzman asked "what does the government get out of this?"
The deal would have kept any prison sentence at no more than 30 months and would not have forced Mastro to testify against other auction company officials who are also facing federal charges.
Doug Allen and Mark Theotikos have also been indicted by a federal grand jury in the case. Both have maintained their innocence.
Mastro pleaded not guilty last July. The New York Daily News reported that the plea agreement also called for Mastro to pay a $250,000 fine
The hearing has been postponed until March 19.