Chad Van Zee, president of a ready-mix concrete company in Rock Valley, Iowa, has pleaded guilty to fixing prices with another concrete supplier from northwestern Iowa between 2006 and 2009.
The prosecutor for the U.S. Dept. of Justice filed a single-count felony charge against Van Zee on Nov. 30 in U.S. District Court in Sioux City, Iowa.
The charge says Van Zee and Steven Keith Vandebrake, a former executive of a ready-mix company in Orange City, Iowa, violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by agreeing on annual price increases for ready-mix concrete and selling the product at collusive and non-competitive prices.
The charge carries a maximum penalty for individuals of 10 years in prison and a $1-million fine.
A plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Sioux City, Iowa, on Dec. 7 requires Van Zee to cooperate with DOJ’s ongoing anti-trust investigation.
Prosecutors will recommend Van Zee serve eight months in prison and pay a $50,000 fine. Van Zee will be allowed to argue the recommended term at his sentencing hearing.
Van Zee, his attorney and the DOJ did not return ENR’s requests for further information by press time.
In May, Van Zee’s co-conspirator, Steven Keith Vandebrake, pleaded guilty to being part of three separate conspiracies to rig bids and fix prices of ready-mix concrete. Under terms of the plea bargain, he must serve 19 months in prison.