Former Packaged Seafood Executive Pleads Guilty to Price Fixing
Stephen Hodge and his co-conspirators discussed the prices of packaged seafood and agreed to fix the prices of those products
The U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) says that a former senior vice president of sales for a packaged seafood company pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to fix the price of packaged seafood, such as canned tuna, sold in the United States.
Stephen Hodge pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information filed on May 30, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.
According to court documents, Hodge and his co-conspirators discussed the prices of packaged seafood sold in the United States and agreed to fix the prices of those products from as early as 2011 through 2013. Hodge and his co-conspirators negotiated prices and issued price announcements for packaged seafood in accordance with the agreements they reached. Including Hodge, three other executives have pleaded guilty for their participation in this conspiracy.
"With today's plea, the Antitrust Division continues to send a strong signal that senior executives will be held accountable for their actions," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Andrew Finch of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division. "The division, along with our law enforcement colleagues, will continue to investigate price fixing among packaged seafood companies and the executives who worked at those companies."
"The FBI will not tolerate the reprehensible behavior of company executives who abuse the trust of the American public for personal gain," said FBI San Francisco Division Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. "We, along with our Justice Department partners, are dedicated to our ongoing investigations into price fixing and will bring these companies to justice."
USDOJ says that Hodge has agreed to pay a criminal fine and cooperate with its Antitrust Division's ongoing investigation. He will be sentenced by the court at a later date.
Bumble Bee Foods LLC has also been charged for its role in the price-fixing conspiracy. Bumble Bee Foods has a court appearance scheduled for August 2, 2017.
Spot a Violation? Report it!
Hodge's plea is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into the packaged seafood industry. Anyone with information on price fixing, bid rigging, or other anticompetitive conduct related to the packaged seafood industry should contact the USDOJ Antitrust Division's Citizen Complaint Center at (888) 647-3258, visit the Department's website, or call the FBI tip line at (415) 553-7400.