Antitrust violations can be brought in civil or criminal court pursuant to Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. These federal actions are brought pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1, which reads:
Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any contract or engage in any combination or conspiracy hereby declared to be illegal shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $100,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $1,000,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.
Unlike most “common law” crimes (murder, burglary, rape, assault and battery, etc.), there is generally some evidence that the client was involved in the activity charged as an antitrust violation. The question for the jury, therefore, is “was the activity a crime?” Generally speaking, there is no necessity for the government to prove “criminal intent” in antitrust cases; however, there is always some mens rea (intent) associated with any criminal jury trial — which might influence punishment even if there is a conviction.
Some charges routinely associated with Antitrust or Sherman Antitrust Act violations include:
- Bid-rigging & complementary bidding agreements
- Conspiracy to violate anti-competitive laws
- Fraud involving suppression of competition or a conspiracy to suppress competition, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, false statements to government agencies, etc.
- Intellectual property agreements
- Licensing agreements
- Market allocation agreements
- Price-fixing agreements (horizontal or vertical price-fixing)
- Racketeering (RICO)
Call the Wyatt Law Office at 405.234.5500 to reach your Oklahoma Antitrust Crime Lawyers and Attorneys. Your future is our business.
Minimal Punishment for Federal Antitrust Price Fixing Charge. Client accused of orchestrating gasoline price-fixing scheme with volume of commerce in excess of $5 million. Jury returned guilty verdict for Sherman Antitrust Act price-fixing violation, but judge ordered only probation (with no restitution) based on evidence developed at trial and in mitigation.*
*Note: Results may vary because each case must be decided on its own unique facts and the law applicable to that given case. You should not infer the likelihood of success on a given case based on past cases handled by this firm.