WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in Oklahoma returned a one-count indictment today charging Kwik-Chek Food Stores Inc., a Texas-based convenience store company, and one of its agents, Jarrod "Judd" Thomas, with conspiring to fix the price of retail gasoline and diesel fuel sold in Antlers, Okla.
The indictment, filed today in the U.S. District Court in Muskogee, Okla., charges that Thomas, acting on behalf of Kwik-Chek, conspired to fix the prices of retail gasoline and diesel with competing retailers in Antlers. Kwik-Chek, based in Bonham, Texas, distributes and sells gasoline and diesel products at convenience stores located in Oklahoma and Texas, including two stores in Antlers. The indictment further charges that the conspiracy began at least as early as 2002 and continued until at least June 2007.
"There can be no tolerance for these kinds of conspiracies," said Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division. "The Antitrust Division is committed to enforcing the antitrust laws to protect American consumers."
The indictment charges that during the course of the conspiracy, Thomas and co-conspirators discussed and agreed to raise, fix and maintain the prices for gasoline and diesel products sold to customers in Antlers.
Kwik-Chek and Thomas are charged with conspiring to fix prices of retail gasoline and diesel fuel in violation of Section One of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1 million for individuals, and $100 million for corporations. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Dallas Field Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Anyone with information concerning price fixing or other anti-competitive conduct in the retail gasoline industry is urged to call the Antitrust Division’s Dallas Field Office at 214-661-8600 or the FBI’s Dallas Office at 972-559-5175.