Antitrust Law Daily Amazon Marketplace seller pleads guilty to price fixing
Friday, July 23, 2021

Amazon Marketplace seller pleads guilty to price fixing

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

Tennessee man admitted to fixing the prices of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs sold online.

The operator of an Amazon Marketplace storefront in Sweetwater, Tennessee, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix prices of DVDs and BluRay Discs sold through the Amazon Marketplace platform, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division announced today. David Camp entered a guilty plea to a one-count charge filed on June 24 in the federal district court in Knoxville. Camp is the first individual to be charged and to plead guilty in the ongoing investigation, according to the government (U.S. v. Camp, Criminal No. 3:21-cr-00083-KAC-HBG).

Camp was charged with agreeing with unnamed co-conspirators to establish price floors for video media contained on digital video discs and Blu-Ray discs sold through the Amazon Marketplace platform to customers. The conspirators allegedly communicated through email, text messages, and phone calls. The challenged conduct took place between May 2018 and October 29, 2019. Total sales of DVDs and Blue-Ray discs to U.S. consumers during the applicable period through the Amazon Marketplace reportedly totaled more than $500,000.

Following today’s hearing, Camp was released on bond. The court scheduled sentencing for January 7, 2022.

Plea agreement. Pursuant to the plea agreement in the case, Camp could avoid jail time. The parties are free to recommend no sentence of incarceration to the court. The government also will not seek restitution in light of the availability of civil damages actions. The court will, however, determine the sentence. The plea agreement explains that the maximum punishment for the offense is ten years’ imprisonment followed by supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million.

Acting antitrust chief’s statement. "American consumers deserve the benefits of competitive pricing, whether they’re shopping in brick-and-mortar stores or in an online marketplace," said Richard A. Powers, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division, in announcing the plea. "By their actions, the defendant and his co-conspirators denied purchasers of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs free and open competition, and instead lined their own pockets. The division remains dedicated to safeguarding online sales from collusion, especially as online shopping becomes increasingly ubiquitous."

Attorneys: William A. Roach, Jr. for U.S. Department of Justice. Wade V. Davies (Ritchie, Dillard, Davies & Johnson, PC) for David Camp.

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