A federal grand jury has indicted a Georgia company and four individuals, charging them with a multiyear price-fixing and bid-rigging conspiracy involving ready-mix concrete in the Savannah area, the U.S. Dept. of Justice says.
The indictment, returned in federal district court in Savannah Sept. 2, alleges that Evans Concrete LLC and a top Evans Concrete official—as well as managers or sales representatives at other unnamed companies—engaged in fixing prices, rigging bids and allocating markets for selling ready-mix concrete.
The Justice Dept. said the alleged plan began as early as 2010 and continued until about July 2016.
The defendants include Timothy “Bo” Strickland, who DOJ says was at different times Evans Concrete’s owner, president, area manager, plant manager and a salesman. The Evans Concrete web page lists Strickland as the company president. It also says the company has provided concrete for a range of projects in southeast Georgia, including bridges, schools, multistory buildings, water treatment plants and nuclear plants.
Other defendants in the case are Gregory Melton and James Clayton Pedrick, who were, respectively, division manager of ready-mix concrete sales and a cement salesman for what DOJ terms “a co-conspirator company.”
The department said in a statement that to carry out the alleged conspiracy, the defendants “used Pedrick as a conduit to exchange price-increase letters and other competitive information between the defendants and other co-conspirators for the purpose of coordinating price increases, rigging bids and allocating jobs.”
Also indicted was John David Melton, a general manager for another co-conspirator company, according to DOJ.
In addition to the price-fixing and bid-rigging allegations, Strickland was charged with making false statements and perjury. Pedrick also was charged with making false statements.
“With support from our law enforcement partners, the antitrust division will hold accountable anyone who cheats the system by depriving customers of competitive pricing as well as individuals who lie to investigating agents,” Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general for DOJ’s antitrust division, said in a statement.
Strickland did not immediately respond to an ENR request for comment.
DOJ noted that the indictment is only an allegation of criminal activity.
The department said violations of the Sherman anti-trust act carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1-million fine for individuals. For a corporation, the fine is $100 million. The fines could be larger under certain circumstances.
Making false statements and perjury each have a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.