The Department of Justice Antitrust Division is continuing an aggressive policy of criminal enforcement in cartel price-fixing cases.
In 2012, the most recent year with published statistics, the Anti-trust Division obtained more than US$1.1 billion in criminal fines and penalties in such cases, much of it from fines collected by its San Francisco field office. It also continued its campaign to prosecute and sentence individuals, including foreign nationals, to substantial prison time in price fixing cases. During 2012, for example, 78 percent of the individuals who pleaded guilty or were successfully prosecuted were sentenced to prison time. And the prison time is substantial: the average prison sentence for individuals between 2010 and 2012 was 25 months.
Leading the charge has been the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco office. Prosecutors in that office have been particularly aggressive in pursuing large criminal cases such as the DRAM price-fixing cases, the LCD price- fixing cases, and the mortgage loan/foreclosure cases.
The Division has obtained record fines and substantial prison sentences for individuals engaged in price fixing activities.
Despite significant changes in top leadership in that office, its prosecutors continue to pursue criminal investigations at a near-record pace, and there is no reason to believe that this won’t continue in 2014.
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