DOJ said the guilty pleas by Roberto Dip, the president of Dip Shipping, and Jason Handal, the company’s sales manager, mark “the first convictions in this investigation.”
Dip Shipping’s website says it ships to and from the U.S., Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico.
Dip and Handal were charged in the Eastern District of Louisiana on Oct. 16, and the case was later transferred to the Southern District of Florida, where Dip and Handal entered their guilty pleas Friday.
“The pair conspired with their competitors to fix the prices for freight forwarding services provided in the United States and elsewhere from at least as early as September 2010 until at least March 2015. In addition to their guilty pleas, Dip and Handal have agreed to pay a criminal fine and cooperate with the ongoing investigation,” DOJ said.
Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division said, “Through these plea agreements, the Antitrust Division and the FBI hold accountable two senior executives who conspired to cheat American customers.”
In July DOJ said during meetings the co-conspirators discussed and agreed to raise prices charged to U.S. customers by implementing set “commissions” in port cities throughout the United States. The discussions were recorded in emails and other documents.
“Emails allegedly show that Dip and Handal were aware that their conduct was in violation of U.S. antitrust laws and that they instructed co-conspirators to avoid leaving written evidence of their conduct,” the Justice Department said.
DOJ said an ongoing investigation into price fixing in the international freight forwarding industry is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal I Section, the FBI’s International Corruption Unit and the FBI’s New Orleans Division. 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 www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html or call the FBI tip line at (415) 553-7400.