Criminal Antitrust Charges
Antitrust charges arise when the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice believes a corporation has engaged in price fixing, bid rigging, or other forms of collusion in violation of the Sherman Act.
Even the Department of Justice admits that collusion can be difficult to detect. Prosecuting agents do not need to prove that there was any formal agreement between alleged conspirators; indeed, circumstantial evidence as vague as "suspicious" bid patterns can be sufficient to obtain a conviction, and vigilantes are urged to be wary of bids bearing "similar" handwriting.
Consequently, federal investigations are extensive and intrusive, often involving the subpoena of business diary entries, telephone records, travel and expense reports, as well as the use of informants equipped with secret listening devices. It is important to retain the services of an antitrust lawyer during early stages of investigation to ensure that your rights are protected.
Antitrust criminal penalties are extreme. Violation of the Sherman Act is a felony punishable by maximum jail sentences of as long as 10 years, in addition to fines of as much as $100 million for corporations and $1 million for individuals. In some instances, the fine may be increased beyond the Sherman Act maximums to an amount twice the gain or loss that is the subject of the prosecution.
There are often innocent explanations for events that may resemble collusion. A business may submit an intentionally high bid for many reasons that have nothing to do with being anti-competition. A corporation may achieve a monopoly through superior products and services. In certain situations, the Department of Justice may grant immunity to individuals or corporations who cooperate with Bid-Rigging and Price-Fixing investigations.
Regardless, if you are facing antitrust allegations and a federal investigation, you need legal representation with the wisdom, expertise, and resources to combat the government. Antitrust lawyers at The Blanch Law Firm approach every case with a willingness to go to trial, but are also very often successful in getting charges dismissed before a jury trial is even necessary.
Contact one of our attorneys by calling 212-736-3900. Your initial consultation is both free and confidential.