On December 6, 2013, Frank Peake, former president of Sea Star Line, was sentenced to five years in prison and a $25,000 criminal fine. The sentence followed a two-week trial before the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico regarding the Department of Justice’s claim that Peake participated in a price-fixing and bid-rigging conspiracy. This is the longest prison sentence ever imposed for an antitrust violation.
Bill Baer, the assistant attorney general heading the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, supported Mr. Peake’s sentence, commenting that “the Antitrust Division will continue to vigorously prosecute executives who collude to fix prices at the expense of consumers.”
In 2012, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division filed 67 criminal cases, obtained a record $1.14 billion in criminal fines, and imposed 45 prison terms with an average sentence of just over two years per defendant.
In this time of increasing penalties for antitrust violations, companies should strongly consider implementing antitrust compliance programs.