Daily Court Reporter - StarKist Co. agrees to plead guilty for price fixing
StarKist Co. agrees to plead guilty for price fixing
StarKist Co. has agreed to plead guilty for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices of packaged seafood sold in the United States, the Department of Justice announced recently.
According to a one-count felony charge filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, StarKist and its co-conspirators agreed to fix the prices of canned tuna fish from as early as November 2011, through at least as late as December 2013. In addition to pleading guilty, StarKist has agreed to cooperate in the investigation. StarKist faces a criminal fine of up to $100 million. The amount of StarKist’s fine will be determined at a sentencing hearing and the plea agreement is subject to court approval.
“The conspiracy to fix prices on these household staples had direct effects on the pocketbooks of American consumers,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “All Americans have the right to the benefits of free and open competition — the best goods and services at a price free from collusion. We will continue to hold companies and individuals who cheat consumers accountable.”
“Our citizens' confidence in the ability to buy goods within an unbiased market is key to sustaining an efficient and fair economy,” said Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett, FBI San Francisco. “This investigation stands as a symbol of our commitment to holding corporations and senior leadership accountable and ensuring that activities such as price fixing will not be tolerated.”
A total of six charges have resulted from this federal antitrust investigation into the packaged seafood industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office. Anyone with information on price fixing, bid rigging or other anticompetitive conduct related to the packaged seafood industry should contact the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office at (415) 934-5300, visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html, or call the FBI tip line at (415) 553-7400.
About the US Department of Justice
The Office of the Attorney General was created by the Judiciary Act of 1789 (ch. 20, sec. 35, 1 Stat. 73, 92-93), as a one-person part-time position. The Act specified that the Attorney General was to be "learned in the law," with the duty "to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the President of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments, touching any matters that may concern their departments."
However, the workload quickly became too much for one person, necessitating the hiring of several assistants for the Attorney General. As the work steadily increased along with the size of the new nation, private attorneys were retained to work on cases.
By 1870, after the end of the Civil War, the increase in the amount of litigation involving the United States had required the very expensive retention of a large number of private attorneys to handle the workload. A concerned Congress passed the Act to Establish the Department of Justice (ch. 150, 16 Stat. 162), creating "an executive department of the government of the United States" with the Attorney General as its head.
Officially coming into existence on July 1, 1870, the Department of Justice was empowered to handle all criminal prosecutions and civil suits in which the United States had an interest. To assist the Attorney General, the 1870 Act also created the Office of the Solicitor General, who represents the interests of the United States before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 1870 Act remains the foundation for the Department’s authority, but the structure of the Department of Justice has changed over the years, with the addition of the offices of Deputy Attorney General, Associate Attorney General, and the formation of various components, offices, boards and divisions. From its beginning as a one-man, part-time position, the Department of Justice has evolved into the world's largest law office and the chief enforcer of federal laws.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The most sacred of the duties of government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.” This sacred duty remains the guiding principle for the women and men of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Date Published: November 2, 2018