On March 26, 2008, Peck & Hale, LLC, a Long Island, NY defense firm, pled guilty to a two-count felony charge for rigging bids for U.S. Department of Defense (“DOD”) military restraints equipment contracts. This equipment is used to tie down and secure vehicles, aircraft, munitions, shipping containers, and other specialized military cargo requirements for transportation. Peck & Hale was accused of being a part of two separate conspiracies. The firm also agreed to a pay a criminal fine of $275,000 and to cooperate with the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in their ongoing investigation.
On March 24, 2008, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) approved a proposed merger between XM Satellite Radio Holdings, Inc. (“XM”) and Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc. (“Sirius”), the only two satellite radio service providers in the United States. The DOJ stated despite a merger to monopoly that the merged companies would not increase prices to satellite radio customers because of alternative services for consumers and future technological changes that are going to provide consumers with more alternatives.
On March 19, 2008, Judy N. Green, a former education consultant from Temecula, CA, was sentenced to 7 ½ years of prison by the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The jury found her guilty on 22 counts of fraud, bid rigging, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud relating to technology projects funded by the E-Rate Program.
COMMERCIAL REFRIGERATION COMPANY AND EXECUTIVE PLEAD GUILTY TO PARTICIPATING IN BID-RIGGING CONSPIRACY
On March 6, 2008, Alliance Mechanical, an Arizona commercial refrigeration company, and Kendall Pope, president and co-owner of the company, pleaded guilty for their role in a conspiracy to rig bids on contracts for the installation of commercial refrigeration equipment in Safeway Inc. grocery stores in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
On March 5, 2008, Altivity Packaging LLC (“Altivity”) and Graphic Packaging International Inc. (“Graphic”) entered into a settlement agreement with the DOJ that they will divest two paperboard mills—one in Indiana and the other in Pennsylvania—in order to proceed with their proposed $1.75 billion merger. The Antitrust Division stated that the merger, as originally proposed, would have substantially lessened competition in the production and sale of a type of paperboard used to make folding cartons for consumer and commercial packaging, including cereal boxes. If for any reason divestiture of the Philadelphia CRB mill is not accomplished, the proposed settlement would require the sale of Altivity's Santa Clara, California mill.
On March 5, 2008, the Federal Trade Commission challenged the conduct by two Connecticut chiropractic associations and one of their attorneys to implement a collective refusal to deal with a cost-saving health plan in Connecticut. The FTC’s complaint charged that the parties’ actions unreasonably restrained competition in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act. In settling the FTC’s charges through consent agreement, the parties will refrain from engaging in such anticompetitive conduct in the future. A consent agreement does not constitute an admission of a law violation but does carry the force of law for future actions.
On March 4, 2008, the DOJ reached a settlement that will require Cookson Group plc and Foseco plc to divest Foseco's U.S. carbon bonded ceramic (“CBC”) business in order to proceed with Cookson's proposed $1 billion acquisition of Foseco. Allegedly, the transaction, as originally proposed, would substantially lessen competition in the United States for certain CBCs used in the continuous casting steelmaking process, resulting in increased prices and reduced service and innovation.