Third Company Agrees to Plead Guilty to Price Fixing on Ocean Shipping Services for Cars and Trucks

Company Agrees to Pay $59.4 Million Criminal Fine

Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), a Japanese corporation, has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $59.4 million criminal fine for its involvement in a conspiracy to fix prices, allocate customers, and rig bids of international ocean shipping services for roll-on, roll-off cargo, such as cars and trucks, to and from the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.

According to a one-count felony charge filed today in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in Baltimore, NYK conspired to suppress and eliminate competition by allocating customers and routes, rigging bids and fixing prices for the sale of international ocean shipments of roll-on, roll-off cargo to and from the United States and elsewhere, including the Port of Baltimore.  NYK participated in the conspiracy from at least February 1997 until at least September 2012.  NYK has agreed to cooperate with the Department’s ongoing antitrust investigation.  The plea agreement is subject to court approval. NYK is the third company to agree to plead guilty in this investigation, bringing the total agreed-upon fines to over $135 million.

Roll-on, roll-off cargo is non-containerized cargo that can be both rolled onto and rolled off of an ocean-going vessel. Examples of this cargo include new and used cars and trucks and construction and agricultural equipment.

“This is another step in the effort to restore competition in the ocean shipping industry to the benefit of U.S. consumers,” said Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “Including today’s charges, three companies have now agreed to plead guilty to participating in this long-running conspiracy.  We are not done.  Our investigation is ongoing.”

According to the charge, NYK and its co-conspirators conspired by agreeing on prices, allocating customers, agreeing to refrain from bidding against one another and exchanging customer pricing information.  The department said the companies then charged fees in accordance with those agreements for international ocean shipping services for certain roll-on, roll-off cargo to and from the United States and elsewhere at collusive and non-competitive prices.

NYK is charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of a $100 million criminal fine 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.

Today’s charge is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging, and other anticompetitive conduct in the international roll-on, roll-off ocean shipping industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal I Section and the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, along with assistance from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Internal Affairs, Washington Field Office/Special Investigations Unit.  Anyone with information in connection with this investigation is urged to call the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal I Section at 202-307-6694, visit, or call the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office at 410-265-8080

3C’s: A Small Bite at the Apple

A Small Bite at the Apple

On December 15th, Apple and the United States continued their heavyweight battle with a round of oral argument in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. It’s been a while since this feud started so I’ll briefly recap the claims of the combatants.  The DOJ wrote in its Second Circuit brief, “In late 2009 and early 2010, Apple orchestrated and participated in a conspiracy with five major book publishers to take control of retail pricing for electronic books (e-books) and to raise prices to agreed-upon levels. The conspiracy was successful: retail e-book prices for the vast majority of the Publisher-Defendants’ new releases and bestsellers rose from $9.99 to $12.99 or $14.99. Consumers paid almost 20% more, on average, for all of the Publisher-Defendants’ e-books.”  Apple offered a “no good deed goes unpunished” defense, contending that it did not join any conspiracy and, in fact, offered a pro-competitive, innovative alternate to the monopolistic stranglehold that had on the e-book market.

The DOJ prevailed in the trial court with Judge Denise Cote finding that Apple had helped orchestrate a horizontal, per se Sherman Act price-fixing violation by book publishers to raise prices. The district court found that “with Apple’s active encouragement and assistance, the Publisher Defendants agreed to work together to eliminate retail price competition and raise e-book prices, and again with Apple’s knowing and active participation, they brought their scheme to fruition.”

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2014 Sherman Act Twombly Recap

A Recap of Sherman Act Twombly Decisions in 2014

My parter, Joan Marshall, and I wrote an article just published by Law 360 titled:  “In 2014 Plaintiffs Gained Some Ground Lost After Twombly.”  The article reviewed some key antitrust cases at the motion to dismiss stage and examined how the courts applied the “plausible” pleading standards announced in Twombly to various elements of the alleged offense.   (It is important to note that while Twombly involved and antitrust complaint, the Supreme Court announced a pleading standard that applied to all complaints.  The vast majority of post-Twombly cases do not involve antitrust pleadings).

Twombly motions and decisions are of course fact specific so its a bit of a stretch to say there is a trend.  The party who tells the best story consistent with Twombly and the underlying policy considerations will win.  But, after several appeals courts reminded lower courts that the standard at the motion to dismiss stage was “plausbility,” it seems plaintiffs chances have improved.   Reminders such as this certainly have helped plaintiffs:

First, at the pleading stage, the plaintiff is not required to allege facts showing that an unlawful agreement is more likely than lawful parallel conduct. * * *Second, in order to state a Section One claim, a plaintiff need not allege a fact pattern that “tends to exclude the possibility” of lawful, independent conduct.  Erie County, Ohio v. Morton Salt, 702 F.3d 860, 868-69 (6th Cir. 2012).

Law 360 is a subscription based service. If you don’t have access to Law 360 and would like to read our full article, please send me a note and I’d be happy to send it along.

Thanks for reading.

Northern California Real Estate Investor Pleads Guilty to Bid Rigging and Fraud at Public Foreclosure Auctions

Investigations Have Yielded 51 Plea Agreements and Five Indictments to Date

A Northern California real estate investor pleaded guilty for his role in bid rigging and fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California, the Department of Justice announced.

Charles Rock was indicted on Dec. 3, 2014, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland, California.  The indictment alleged that Charles Rock and others agreed not to compete at public foreclosure auctions in Contra Costa County, California, and diverted money to themselves that should have gone to mortgage holders and other beneficiaries.  Charles Rock pleaded guilty to one count of bid rigging and two counts of mail fraud.

To date, 51 individuals have agreed to plead or have pleaded guilty as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigations into bid rigging and fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California.  In addition, 21 real estate investors, including Charles Rock, have been charged in five multi-count indictments for their roles in bid-rigging and fraud schemes at foreclosure auctions in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties.

The indictment alleges, among other things, that as early as June 2008 until about January 2011, Charles Rock and others conspired to rig bids to obtain numerous properties sold at foreclosure auctions in Contra Costa County, negotiated payoffs for agreeing not to compete, held second, private auctions known as “rounds,” concealed those rounds and payoffs, and in the process, defrauded mortgage holders and other beneficiaries.

“This is the first post-indictment plea resulting from the investigation and marks a positive step forward in resolving the case,” said Brent Snyder, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program.  “It is important for those who conspired to profit from rigged bids and illegal payoffs to take responsibility for their actions.”

“These charges demonstrate our continued commitment to investigate and prosecute individuals and organizations responsible for the corruption of the public foreclosure auction process,” said David J. Johnson, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Field Office.  “The FBI is committed to work these important cases and remains unwavering in our dedication to bring the members of these illegal conspiracies to justice.”

A violation of the Sherman Act carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals.  The maximum fine for the Sherman Act charges may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victim if either amount is greater than $1 million.  Each count of mail fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Today’s charges are the latest filed by the department in its ongoing investigation into bid rigging and fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa, and Alameda counties, California.  These investigations are being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Office.  Anyone with information concerning bid rigging or fraud related to public real estate foreclosure auctions should contact the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office at 415-934-5300, or call the FBI tip line at 415-553-7400.

Today’s charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud.  Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.  Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants.  For more information on the task force, please visit

United States Files Suit Against Omnicare Inc. for Accepting Kickbacks from Drug Manufacturer to Promote an Anti-Epileptic Drug in Nursing Homes

The United States has filed a civil False Claims Act complaint against Omnicare Inc. alleging that it solicited and received millions of dollars in kickbacks from pharmaceutical manufacturer Abbott Laboratories, the Justice Department announced today.  Omnicare is the nation’s largest provider of pharmaceuticals and pharmacy consulting services to nursing homes.  Federal regulations designed to protect nursing home residents from unnecessary drugs require nursing homes to retain consulting pharmacists such as those provided by Omnicare to ensure that residents’ drug prescriptions are appropriate.

In its complaint, the United States alleges that Omnicare solicited and received kickbacks from Abbott in exchange for purchasing and recommending the prescription drug Depakote for controlling behavioral disturbances exhibited by dementia patients residing in nursing homes serviced by Omnicare.  According to the complaint, Omnicare’s pharmacists reviewed nursing home patients’ charts at least monthly and made recommendations to physicians on what drugs should be prescribed for those patients.  The government alleges that Omnicare touted its influence over physicians in nursing homes in order to secure kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies such as Abbott.

“Elderly nursing home residents suffering from dementia are among our nation’s most vulnerable patient populations, and they depend on the independent judgment of healthcare professionals for their daily care,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “Kickbacks to consulting pharmacists compromise their independence and undermine their role in protecting nursing home residents from the use of unnecessary drugs.”

The United States alleges that Omnicare disguised the kickbacks it received from Abbott in a variety of ways.  Abbott allegedly made payments to Omnicare described as “grants” and “educational funding,” even though their true purpose was to induce Omnicare to recommend Depakote.  For example, according to the complaint, Omnicare solicited substantial contributions from Abbott and other pharmaceutical manufacturers to its “Re*View” program.  Although Omnicare claimed that Re*View was a “health management” and “educational” program, the complaint alleges that it was simply a means by which Omnicare solicited kickbacks from pharmaceutical manufacturers in exchange for increasing the utilization of their drugs on elderly nursing home residents.  In internal documents, Omnicare allegedly referred to Re*View as its “one extra script per patient” program.  The complaint also alleges that Omnicare entered into agreements with Abbott by which Omnicare was entitled to increasing levels of rebates from Abbott based on the number of nursing home residents serviced and the amount of Depakote prescribed per resident.  Finally, the complaint alleges that Abbott funded Omnicare management meetings on Amelia Island, Florida, offered tickets to sporting events to Omnicare management, and made other payments to local Omnicare pharmacies.

“Although the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia is small, we will not waver in our pursuit of the largest corporations, like Omnicare and Abbott, who illegally raid the coffers of Medicaid, Medicare, and other healthcare benefit programs,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Giorno for the Western District of Virginia.

“Kickback allegations place elderly nursing home residents at risk that treatment decisions are influenced by improper financial incentives,” said Special Agent in Charge Nicholas DiGiulio for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) region including Virginia. “We will continually guard government health programs and taxpayers from companies more intent on their bottom lines than on patient care.”

In May 2012, the United States, numerous individual states, and Abbott entered into a $1.5 billion global civil and criminal resolution that, among other things, resolved Abbott’s civil liability under the False Claims Act for paying kickbacks to nursing home pharmacies.

The United States filed its complaint against Omnicare in two consolidated whistleblower lawsuits filed under the False Claims Act in the Western District of Virginia.  The whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act authorize private parties to sue for fraud on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery.  The United States is entitled to intervene and take over such lawsuits, as it has done here.

This case illustrates the government’s emphasis on combating health care fraud and marks another achievement for the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) initiative, which was announced in May 2009 by the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  The partnership between the two departments has focused efforts to reduce and prevent Medicare and Medicaid financial fraud through enhanced cooperation.  One of the most powerful tools in this effort is the False Claims Act.  Since January 2009, the Justice Department has recovered a total of more than $23.2 billion through False Claims Act cases, with more than $14.9 billion of that amount recovered in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs.

This investigation was jointly handled by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia, HHS-OIG, the Office of the Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia and the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units.

The cases are captioned United States ex rel. Spetter v. Abbott Labs., et al., Case No. 10-cv-00006 (W.D. Va.) and United States ex rel. McCoyd v. Abbott Labs., et al., Case No. 07-cv-00081 (W.D. Va.).  The claims asserted in the government’s complaint are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

Iron Mountain Companies Pay $44.5 Million to Settle Alleged False Billings for Storing Government Documents and Data

Iron Mountain Incorporated and Iron Mountain Information Management LLC (collectively Iron Mountain) has paid $44.5 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that Iron Mountain overcharged federal agencies for record storage services under General Services Administration (GSA) contracts, the Department of Justice announced today.  Iron Mountain is a records storage company headquartered in Boston.

“Protecting the federal procurement process from false claims is central to the mission of the Department of Justice,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “We will continue to ensure that when federal monies are used to purchase commercial services the government receives the prices and services to which it is entitled.”

“This settlement illustrates our commitment to protecting the integrity of federal contracting programs,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner for the Eastern District of California.  “Federal agencies rely on pricing information under the Multiple Award Schedule program in particular, and deserve the full benefit of applicable contract terms.”

This settlement relates to contracts under which Iron Mountain provided record storage services to government entities from 2001 to 2014 through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program.  The MAS program provides the government with a streamlined process for procurement of commonly used commercial goods and services.  The settlement resolves allegations that Iron Mountain failed to meet its contractual obligations to provide GSA with accurate information about its commercial sales practices during contract negotiations, and failed to comply with the price reduction clause of the GSA contracts by not extending lower prices to government customers during its performance of the contracts.  It also resolves an allegation that Iron Mountain charged the United States for storage meeting National Archives and Records Administration requirements when the storage provided did not meet such requirements.

“My office will continue working diligently to make sure American taxpayers are getting the best value for every dollar spent,” said Acting Inspector General Robert C. Erickson for GSA.

The civil settlement resolves a lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act, which permits private parties to file suit on behalf of the United States for false claims and obtain a portion of the government’s recovery.  The civil lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of California by Brent Stanley, a former Iron Mountain employee, and Patrick McKillop, who worked in the records management industry.  Collectively, they will receive $8,010,000.

The settlement with Iron Mountain was the result of a coordinated effort among the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the GSA’s Office of the Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, the NASA Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General.

The lawsuit is captioned United States ex rel. Brent Stanley and Patrick McKillop v. Iron Mountain Incorporated, Civil Action No. 11-3260 (E.D. Cal.).  The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

Defense Contractor Agrees to Pay $27.5 Million to Settle Overbilling Allegations

Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems (LMIS) has agreed to pay $27.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly overbilling the government for work performed by LMIS employees who lacked required job qualifications.

The settlement was announced today by Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda for the Justice Department’s Civil Division and U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman for the District of New Jersey.

“Contractors that knowingly bill the government in violation of contract terms will face serious consequences,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Branda.  “The department will ensure that those who do business with the government, and seek taxpayer funds, do so fairly and in accordance with the applicable rules.”

“U.S. forces rely on the goods and services provided by defense contractors, so it is imperative the government be able to rely on those contractors to adhere to the rules,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman.  “This settlement should remind all who do business with the government that there is a price to pay for fudging the math.”

LMIS is a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Inc., which is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland.  The alleged labor mischarging occurred on the Rapid Response (CR2) contract and the Strategic Services Sourcing (S3) contract, both issued by the U.S. Army Communication and Electronics Command (CECOM).  CECOM is located at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and at the Aberdeen Proving Group in Maryland.  The purpose of the CR2 and S3 contracts is to provide rapid access to products and services to be provided to the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. Individual task orders then are separately negotiated, based on these contracts, to quickly meet the needs of CECOM.  LMIS allegedly violated the terms of the contracts by using under-qualified employees who were billed to the United States at the rates of more qualified employees.  The overbilling allegedly resulted in greater profit for LMIS.

“This settlement demonstrates the commitment of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and our partners to vigorously pursue alleged violations of the False Claims Act,” said Special Agent in Charge Craig W. Rupert of the DCIS Northeast Field Office.  “All contractors doing business with the federal government are expected to abide by the acquisition rules no matter who they are.  Investigations of such allegations are necessary to protect American taxpayers and our warfighters.”

This settlement was the result of a coordinated effort by the Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Southern New Jersey Branch of the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) and the DCAA’s Mid-Atlantic Region’s Comprehensive Labor Team and Investigative Support Team, the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit and the DCIS.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability

Civilian Navy Employee Found Guilty of Obstruction and False Statements After Jury Trial

A federal jury today returned a guilty verdict against a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy posted at the Capodichino Navy Base near Naples, Italy, for obstructing an investigation and making false statements, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt of the Southern District of Iowa.

Steven William Ashton, 41, with a last known U.S. residence in Davenport, Iowa, was found guilty after a nine-day jury trial of creating false documents to obstruct the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) investigation into Ashton’s private consulting business called BlackGrid Consulting LLC.  The jury also found Ashton guilty of making false statements about his tour of duty in order to obtain federal benefits and access to military bases worldwide.

The evidence at trial showed that the NCIS was investigating Ashton for conflicts of interest and using inside government information to advance his business.  When Ashton learned about the investigation, he created fraudulent documentation purporting to show that he had fully disclosed his business to Navy authorities and received approval.  At Ashton’s direction, his defense counsel unwittingly submitted those false documents to the prosecutors and gave other false explanations to the Justice Department.

According to the evidence presented at trial, from April 2004 to March 2013, Ashton was employed by the Navy as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Host Nation Programs Manager for the regions of Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia, responsible for managing contracts and agreements among the Navy and other countries to support the United States’ military efforts.

He was found not guilty on charges of theft of government funds for obtaining housing benefits, called Living Quarters Assistance, to which he was not entitled, and of obstructing that investigation.

This case was investigated by the NCIS and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.  The case is being prosecuted by Director of Procurement Fraud Litigation Catherine Votaw of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Clifford Cronk of the Southern District of Iowa.

St. Helena Hospital Agrees To Pay $2.25 Million To Settle False Claims Act Allegations

SAN FRANCISCO – St. Helena Hospital, an acute care hospital within the Adventist Health System, has agreed to pay the United States $2,250,000 to settle allegations that it submitted false claims to Medicare for certain cardiac procedures and related inpatient admissions, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced today.

The settlement resolves allegations that St. Helena Hospital knowingly charged Medicare for medically unnecessary percutaneous coronary interventions during the period Jan. 1, 2008 through July 31, 2011. Percutaneous coronary intervention, commonly referred to as angioplasty, is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. The United States also alleged that St. Helena Hospital unnecessarily admitted angioplasty patients who should have been treated on a less costly, outpatient basis.

This settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by Kacie Carroll, a former employee of St. Helena Hospital, under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private citizens to bring lawsuits on behalf of the United States and obtain a portion of the government’s recovery. Carroll will receive $450,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven J. Saltiel handled the matter on behalf of the U.S. Attorney?s Office, with the assistance of Michael Zehr and Kathy Terry.

The case is captioned United States ex rel. Carroll v. Adventist Health Systems, et al., Case No. CV-10-4925 DMR. The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

3C’s: “Nobody likes to see a competitor get in trouble, but . . .”

Last week I spent a few days at a Consero Corporate and Ethics Forum in San Jose, California. It was a very informative conference that brought together senior compliance executives in an intimate format to discuss many aspects of compliance such as “Internal Investigations: Soup to Nuts.” This was the third major compliance program I have attended since I retired from the Antitrust Division.  Earlier this year I was a speaker at the annual conferences for the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) and Ethics Compliance Officer Association. These conferences have their own personality and I enjoyed each. I have learned an enormous amount about the far-ranging responsibilities compliance attorneys and officers shoulder, often with limited resources. And, having been on the side of the prosecutor (regulator) for so long, I think I have been able to add some ideas to the discussion. Thus, the title of this post “Nobody like to see a competitor in trouble, but….”

The “but” is that when a competitor is in trouble it may be the best time to focus compliance resources on a particular area. Being able to go to management and say, “Company X is embroiled in this investigation and I think it may be something we need to focus on” can be a more persuasive than saying, “We need more resources.” One example may be if a competitor has an issue with a third-party vendor in an emerging market. That would be an ideal time to move any compliance efforts in that location to the top of the heap. In the antitrust area it is very common for investigations to start fairly localized and then spread.  A prime and recent example is the record-breaking auto parts cartel investigation. What started as an investigation in the United States of one auto part has spread to prosecutions involving virtually every auto part except the air freshener hanging from the front view mirror. This quote is from the most recent press release from the DOJ relating to another guilty plea in the auto parts investigation:  “Including today’s charges, 48 individuals have been charged in the department’s ongoing investigation into price-fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry.  Additionally, 32 companies have pledged guilty or agreed to plead guilty and have agreed to pay more than $2.4 billion in fines.” (here)  The auto parts investigation not only spread from one product to another, but also from the United States to competition authorities around the world including the EU, China, Japan, and Korea.   The auto parts investigation is an unusually large investigation, but industry “way of life” cartels are fairly common.

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