By Linda O’Brien, J.D., LL.M.
The current senior vice president of trade marketing of a leading packaged seafood company has agreed to plead guilty for his role in a conspiracy to fix the prices of packaged seafood, such as canned tuna, sold in the United States. Today, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division announced that a felony charge has been filed against Kenneth Worsham in the federal district court in San Francisco (U.S. v. Worsham, Case No. 16 CR 535).
According to the one-count Indictment, Worsham and his co-conspirators agreed to fix the prices of packaged seafood from as early as 2011 until about 2013. In addition to his guilty plea, which is subject to court approval, Worsham has agreed to pay a criminal fine and cooperate with the division’s ongoing investigation.
The charge states that Worsham and his co-conspirators discussed the prices of packaged seafood sold in the United States and agreed to fix the prices of those products. He and his co-conspirators negotiated prices and issued price announcements for packaged seafood in accordance with the agreements they had reached.
Today’s charge is the second to result from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into the packaged seafood industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office.
The Justice Department did not identify the defendant’s current employer.
"The Antitrust Division and its law enforcement partners are once again sending a strong signal that high-ranking executives responsible for fixing the price of shelf-stable tuna must be held accountable," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. "We will continue our work to root out the collusion among packaged seafood companies that targeted American consumers."
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