A federal grand jury in Denver has returned an indictment charging Norman W. Fries Inc., dba Claxton Poultry Farms (Claxton), headquartered in Claxton, GA, with collaborating in a nationwide conspiracy to repair costs and rig bids for broiler hen merchandise.
In response to courtroom paperwork, from no less than as early as 2012 till no less than 2019, Claxton and co-conspirators, together with present Claxton President Mikell Fries and present Vice President Scott Brady, conspired to suppress and get rid of competitors for gross sales of broiler hen merchandise, that are raised for human consumption and offered to grocers and eating places.
Fries and Brady are amongst 10 people charged in a superseding indictment from October 2020 for his or her roles within the conspiracy. Pilgrim’s Satisfaction Corp., a serious broiler hen producer primarily based in Greeley, CO, pleaded responsible and was sentenced in February 2021 to pay a prison effective of greater than $107 million for its position within the conspiracy.
“As this cost exhibits, we won’t hesitate to prosecute crimes designed to place cash in company coffers and line executives’ pockets on the expense of on a regular basis People, together with the tons of of tens of millions of us who depend on hen to be an reasonably priced staple meals,” stated Performing Assistant Legal professional Basic Richard A. Powers of the Justice Division’s Antitrust Division. “Alongside our valued legislation enforcement companions and colleagues on the District of Colorado U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace, we won’t cease till integrity is restored to this important market and all wrongdoers are held to account.”
“At this time’s announcement is one more instance of the continuing work of the FBI and its companions to root out corrupt people and firms who collude to inflate costs and try to get rid of honest markets,” stated Assistant Director in Cost Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI Washington Area Workplace. “This anti-competitive conduct won’t be tolerated, and the FBI will work to carry folks and firms accountable for his or her prison actions so the American folks and enterprise homeowners don’t pay unnecessarily excessive prices for obligatory meals.”
“At such a vital juncture in our nation’s financial historical past, we’re particularly proud to be working with DOJ Antitrust Division, the FBI, and USDA OIG to guard American customers from such unscrupulous efforts to distort the free marketplace for private acquire,” stated Particular Agent in Cost Duane Townsend of the U.S. Division of Commerce, Workplace of Inspector Basic. “That is one more cooperative step towards justice and restoration of integrity to the poultry market.”
Claxton is charged with a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. If convicted, Claxton faces a statutory most effective for firms of $100 million. The utmost effective could also be elevated to twice the acquire derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by victims, if both of these quantities is bigger than the statutory most effective. A federal district courtroom choose will decide any sentence after contemplating the U.S. Sentencing Tips and different statutory elements.
This case is the results of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into value fixing, bid rigging, and different anticompetitive conduct within the broiler hen business, which is being performed by the Antitrust Division with the help of the Division of Commerce Workplace of Inspector Basic, the FBI’s Washington Area Workplace, and the U.S. Division of Agriculture Workplace of Inspector Basic.
Anybody with info on value fixing, bid rigging, or different anticompetitive conduct associated to the broiler hen business ought to contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Criticism Heart at 888-647-3258 or go to www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed harmless till confirmed responsible past an affordable doubt in a courtroom of legislation.
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