Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, one of the largest broiler production companies, has pleaded guilty to participation in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for broiler products. The U.S. District Court in Denver accepted the plea agreement and sentenced the company to pay $ 107,923,572 in criminal fines.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), between early 2012 and through 2017, Pilgrim’s participated in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition for sales of broiler products in the United States.
The Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, Richard Powers said:
“Today’s guilty plea demonstrates our unwavering commitment to prosecuting companies that violate the nation’s antitrust laws, especially when it involves something as central to everyday life as the food we eat. This guilty plea is a direct result of the tireless efforts of our dedicated career prosecutors and staff, and partners at the FBI, Commerce Office of Inspector General (OIG) and USDA OIG.”
In a press release, the U.S. DoJ, informed that Pilgrim’s is the first company that has been sentenced for these charges, but ten executives and employees have been previously charged. The investigation remains ongoing.
“We appreciate the ongoing commitment and concerted efforts of our law enforcement partners at the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, the FBI, and the Department of Commerce OIG to investigate a long running scheme affecting competition through the rigging of bids and price fixing of broiler chicken products,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Currently, three federal agencies are committed to investigating any anticompetitive conduct in the broiler chicken industry. The U.S Department of Commerce, the FBI, and the U.S Department of Agriculture are bringing to justice those companies related to price fixing, bid rigging, and some other crimes against the free and open market competition.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice
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