Antitrust Law Daily Ready-mix concrete producer Argos admits to price fixing, agrees to pay $20M fine under DPA
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Monday, January 4, 2021

Ready-mix concrete producer Argos admits to price fixing, agrees to pay $20M fine under DPA

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

Argos USA is the second company charged in a price fixing and market allocation conspiracy involving ready-mix concrete in the coastal Georgia area lasting from around 2010 until 2016.

A Georgia-based producer and seller of ready-mix concrete was charged today with participating in a conspiracy to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate markets for sales of ready-mix concrete in the coastal Georgia area. According to the Department of Justice announcement, Argos USA LLC has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the Antitrust Division, resolving the charge against the company. Under the DPA, Argos agreed to pay a $20 million criminal penalty, admitted to participating in the charged conspiracy, and agreed to cooperate fully with the Antitrust Division’s ongoing criminal investigation. Argos also agreed to maintain a compliance and ethics program (U.S. v. Argos USA LLC, Case 4:21-cr-00002-RSB-CLR).

In the DPA, Argos admitted to participating in the charged conspiracy from October 2011, when it acquired the assets of a ready-mix concrete supplier in the Southern District of Georgia, until July 2016. Argos had employed two industry executives already caught up in the probe: Gregory Hall Melton and James Clayton Pedrick. Gregory Melton was the division manager of ready-mix concrete sales for Argos’ local sales office in Pooler, Georgia. Pedrick was a cement salesperson, selling cement to ready-mix concrete suppliers. These Argos employees were charged in a September 2020 indictment.

Earlier indictment in investigation. Argos is the second company charged as a result of the ongoing probe. Evans Concrete LLC and industry executives, including the two former Argos employees, were indicted in September 2020. In addition to Evans Concrete and the former Argos employees, the indictment named John David Melton and Timothy Tommy Strickland.

All of the defendants were charged with conspiring to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate markets for the sale of ready-mix concrete used in residential, commercial, and public projects. In addition, one defendant was charged with making false statements; and another was charged with making false statements and perjury.

Evans Concrete and the individuals are all awaiting trial. Pre-trial motions are anticipated in March.

Ready-mix concrete is purchased by do-it-yourself and commercial customers, as well as local, state, and federal governments, for use in various construction projects, including bridges, tunnels, and roads.

Attorneys: Matthew Stegman and E. Greg Gilluly, Jr. for U.S. Department of Justice. Meredith Laughlin Allen and Johnny Brent Justus (McGuireWoods LLP) for Argos USA LLC. Daniel P. Griffin (Miller & Martin PLLC) for Evans Concrete LLC. Amy Lee Copeland (Amy Lee Copeland, LLC) for John David Melton a/k/a David Melton.

Companies: Argos USA LLC; Evans Concrete LLC

MainStory: TopStory Antitrust AntitrustDivisionNews GCNNews

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