Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : November 30, 2008

In November 2008, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland sentenced two defense contractors to probation who had pleaded guilty in connection with a conspiracy to steal confidential bidding information from a competitor.  The conspiracy concerned contracts to supply the Department of Defense with jet fuel abroad.  In its press release announcing the guilty pleas (attached Cartwright Press Release), the Antitrust Division’s Criminal Section noted that the defendants pleaded guilty to offenses that had maximum prison sentences of 20 years — conspiracy to commit wire fraud by one defendant and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, defraud the United States and steal trade secrets by the other defendant.  The court rejected the government’s requests for prison time.  It noted that the defendants had otherwise been exemplary businessman and citizens and were pioneers in supplying fuel to newly opened routes in Eastern Europe.  They were responsible for opening aviation from throughout the world in  these far flung areas.  The defendants were represented by Richard Levitt, Esq. of Levitt & Kaizer, Ray Granger, Esq. of Granger & Associates and Gordon Mehler, Esq. of Law Offices of Gordon Mehler.



Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : June 26, 2008

On June 26, 2008, the Antitrust Division announced that Air France (and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines), Cathay Pacific, Martinair Holland and SAS Cargo Group entered into plea agreements for their participation in the cartel to fix air cargo rates. They agreed to fines of more than $504 million. Air France-KLM agreed to pay $350 million — the second largest fine for an antitrust conviction in U.S. history. Cathay agreed to a $60 million fine; Martinair agreed to a $42 million fine; and SAS agreed to a $52 million fine. So far, the Antitrust Division has obtained $1.27 billion in fines from guilty pleas by cartel participants. This is the largest amount of fines ever imposed as a result of a criminal antitrust investigation. The Antitrust Division’s press release is attached.  DOJ Press Release (International Cargo Cartel)



Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : June 15, 2008

On June 2, 2008, the Antitrust Division’s Criminal Section lost a four-day jury trial in the District of Columbia. In United States v. Keitt, 07-CR-041, the defendant was accused of paying a former associate director of the TSA in exchange for favorable treatment in overseeing and administering his company’s contract. The jury acquitted in less than one day. This is the fifth major blow to the Criminal Section within the last year. The March 15, 2008 post discusses the Criminal Section’s four other defeats within the last twelve months — three acquittals after trial and the denial of extradition by the U.K. House of Lords.



Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : April 22, 2008

The Antitrust Division (Criminal Section) has been busy lately. On April 19, the Criminal Section obtained plea agreements in two separate investigations. Today, the Criminal Section announced the unsealing of an indictment in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The indictment alleges that defendants agreed to have one company withdraw from bidding to supply TACOM night vision goggles to a military procurement unit for Iraq. The indictment charges wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. Notably absent is a charge for violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act. The failure to charge such an offense usually indicates that no actual bid was rigged. The March 15, 2008 Post discusses the Criminal Section’s spotty trial record over the last year.