Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Another Antitrust Case Sees US Freight Forwarder Plead Guilty to Conspiracy Charge

Shipping Prices Fixed in Cartel Scandal
Shipping News Feature
US – Louisiana-based freight forwarder, Dip Shipping has agreed to plead guilty to an antitrust charge for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices of freight forwarding services sold to customers in the United States and elsewhere. Under the terms of its plea agreement, Dip Shipping agreed to pay a $488,250 criminal fine.

According to a one-count felony charge filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, Dip Shipping are accused of conspiring with other freight forwarders to fix, raise and maintain prices charged to customers from September 2010 until at least March 2015.

According to court documents, Dip Shipping and its co-conspirators met in the United States and elsewhere to discuss and agree to fix prices. Dip Shipping is the first company to be charged and to agree to plead guilty in the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation in the freight forwarding industry. The plea agreement is subject to court approval. Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, said:

“Dip Shipping and its Executives and co-conspirators sought to profit by cheating some of the most vulnerable American consumers. The Sherman Act provides for prosecution of both individuals and the companies on whose behalf they act. [This] charge is further proof that crime does not pay and that we will prosecute those who conspire to violate the antitrust laws to the fullest extent of the law.”

As a result of this ongoing federal investigation, Dip Shipping Executives Roberto Dip and Jason Handal earlier had pleaded guilty to price fixing. Dip and Handal were sentenced in June 2019 to 18-month and 15-month terms of imprisonment, respectively, for their roles in the conspiracy.

A criminal violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act carries a maximum fine of $100 million for corporations. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.