NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
The United States of America and DENNY'S PAY-LESS GROCERY, INC. ("defendant"), a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Florida, hereby enter into the following Plea Agreement pursuant to Rule 11(c)(1)(B) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure ("Fed. R. Crim. P."):
1. The defendant understands its rights:
AND WAIVE CERTAIN RIGHTS
2. The defendant knowingly and voluntarily waives the rights set out in Paragraph 1(b)-(f) above. The defendant also knowingly and voluntarily waives the right to file any appeal, any collateral attack, or any other writ or motion, including but not limited to an appeal under 18 U.S.C. § 3742, that challenges the sentence imposed by the Court if that sentence is consistent with or below the recommended sentence in Paragraph 8 of this Plea Agreement, regardless of how the sentence is determined by the Court. This agreement does not affect the rights or obligations of the United States as set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3742(b). Nothing in this paragraph, however, shall act as a bar to the defendant perfecting any legal remedies it may otherwise have on appeal or collateral attack respecting claims of ineffective assistance of counsel or prosecutorial misconduct. Pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 7(b), the defendant will waive indictment and plead guilty to a one-count Information in the form attached to be filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The Information will charge the defendant with participating in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by rigging bids on certain lots of merchandise being offered for bid at auction by the United States Postal Service ("USPS") at merchandise auctions held in Atlanta, Georgia, beginning in or about August, 2002 and continuing up to and including October, 2002, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1.
3. The defendant, pursuant to the terms of this Plea Agreement, will plead guilty to the criminal charge described in Paragraph 2 above and will make a factual admission of guilt to the Court in accordance with Fed. R. Crim. P. 11, as set forth in Paragraph 4 below.
4. Had this case gone to trial, the United States would have presented evidence sufficient to prove the following facts:
5. The defendant understands that the statutory maximum penalty which may be imposed against it upon conviction for a violation of Section One of the Sherman Antitrust Act is a fine in an amount equal to the greatest of:
6. In addition, the defendant understands that:
7. The defendant understands that the Sentencing Guidelines are advisory, not mandatory, but that the Court must consider the Guidelines in effect at the time of the offense given ex post facto considerations, along with the other factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), in determining and imposing sentence. The defendant understands that the Guidelines determinations will be made by the Court by a preponderance of the evidence standard. The defendant understands that although the Court is not ultimately bound to impose a sentence within the applicable Guidelines range, its sentence must be reasonable based upon consideration of all relevant sentencing factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).
8. Pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(c)(1)(B), the United States agrees that it will recommend, as the appropriate disposition of this case, that the Court impose a sentence at the low end of the applicable Guidelines range requiring the defendant to pay to the United States a criminal fine, payable in full before the fifteenth (15th) day after the date of judgment, and an order of restitution as described below ("the recommended sentence"). The parties agree that the Court should use the Guidelines in effect at the time of the offense, due to ex post facto reasons. The parties agree to recommend to the Court that the Court order the defendant to make restitution of $4,880 to the victim, the USPS, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 3563(b)(2) and 3663(a)(3), also payable in full before the fifteenth (15th) day after the date of judgment or, in the event the Court shall determine that restitution is not appropriate under the circumstances of this case, the parties agree to recommend that the Court should add said $4,880 to the aforesaid fine, in lieu of the payment of restitution of $4,880 to the victim. The United States agrees that it will represent to the Court that in its judgment, the offense level in this case under Guideline §§ 2R1.1 and 8C2.3 is 10 + 1(non-competitive bids) = 11, yielding a base fine of $30,000 under Guideline § 8C2.4(d). The United States agrees insofar as the determination of the culpability score under Guideline §8C2.5(g), it will recommend to the Court a two-point deduction. The parties agree that the Probation Office and the Court will need to make a factual determination whether the culpability score should be increased by one or more points, in the event defendant had ten or more employees within the meaning of Guideline §8C2.5. The United States further represents that it presently knows of no other facts which could increase the defendant's culpability score under Guideline § 8C2.5, and that it is its present belief that the culpability score should not exceed a total of four points. The parties also agree that there exists no aggravating or mitigating circumstance of a kind, or to a degree, not adequately taken into consideration by the U.S. Sentencing Commission in formulating the Sentencing Guidelines justifying a departure pursuant to U.S.S.G. §5K2.0. The parties agree not to seek or support any sentence outside of the Guidelines range nor any Guidelines adjustment for any reason that is not set forth in this Plea Agreement. The parties further agree that the recommended sentence set forth in this Plea Agreement is reasonable.
9. Subject to the ongoing, full, and truthful cooperation of the defendant described in Paragraph 11of this Plea Agreement, and before sentencing in the case, the United States will fully advise the Court and the Probation Office of the fact, manner, and extent of the defendant's cooperation and its commitment to prospective cooperation with the United States' investigation and prosecutions, all material facts relating to the defendant's involvement in the charged offense, and all other relevant conduct.
10. The United States and the defendant understand that the Court retains complete discretion to accept or reject the recommended sentence provided for in Paragraph 8 of this Plea Agreement. The defendant understands that, as provided in Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(c)(3)(B), if the Court does not impose the recommended sentence contained in this Agreement, it nevertheless has no right to withdraw its plea of guilty.
11. The defendant will cooperate fully and truthfully with the United States in the prosecution of this case, the conduct of the current federal investigation of violations of federal antitrust and related criminal laws involving the business of buying and selling closeout, salvage and surplus merchandise, any other federal investigation resulting therefrom, and any litigation or other proceedings arising or resulting from any such investigation to which the United States is a party ("Federal Proceeding"). The ongoing, full, and truthful cooperation of the defendant shall include, but not be limited to:
12. The ongoing, full, and truthful cooperation of each person described in Paragraph 11(b) above will be subject to the procedures and protections of this paragraph, and shall include, but not be limited to:
13. Upon acceptance of the guilty plea called for by this Plea Agreement and the imposition of the recommended sentence, and subject to the cooperation requirements of Paragraph 11 of this Plea Agreement, the United States agrees that it will not bring further criminal charges against the defendant for any act or offense committed before September 29, 2006 that was undertaken in furtherance of an antitrust conspiracy involving the business of buying and selling closeout, salvage and surplus merchandise at USPS auctions in the United States. The nonprosecution terms of this paragraph do not apply to civil matters of any kind, to any violation of the federal tax or securities laws, or to any crime of violence.
14. The United States agrees to the following:
15. The defendant understands that it may be subject to administrative action by federal or state agencies other than the United States Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, based upon the conviction resulting from this Plea Agreement, and that this Plea Agreement in no way controls whatever action, if any, other agencies may take. However, the United States agrees that, if requested, it will advise the appropriate officials of any governmental agency considering such administrative action of the fact, manner, and extent of the cooperation of the defendant as a matter for that agency to consider before determining what administrative action, if any, to take.
16. The defendant has been represented by counsel and is fully satisfied that its attorneys have provided competent legal representation. The defendant has thoroughly reviewed this Plea Agreement and acknowledges that counsel has advised it of the nature of the charge, any possible defenses to the charge, and the nature and range of possible sentences.
17. The defendant's decision to enter into this Plea Agreement and to tender a plea of guilty is freely and voluntarily made and is not the result of force, threats, assurances, promises, or representations other than the representations contained in this Plea Agreement. The United States has made no promises or representations to the defendant as to whether the Court will accept or reject the recommendations contained within this Plea Agreement.
18. The defendant agrees that, should the United States determine in good faith, during the period that any Federal Proceeding is pending, that the defendant has failed to provide full and truthful cooperation, as described in Paragraph 11 of this Plea Agreement, or has otherwise violated any provision of this Plea Agreement, the United States will notify counsel for the defendant in writing by personal or overnight delivery or facsimile transmission and may also notify counsel by telephone of its intention to void any of its obligations under this Plea Agreement (except its obligations under this paragraph), and the defendant shall be subject to prosecution for any federal crime of which the United States has knowledge including, but not limited to, the substantive offenses relating to the investigation resulting in this Plea Agreement. The defendant agrees that, in the event that the United States is released from its obligations under this Plea Agreement and brings criminal charges against the defendant for any offense referred to in Paragraph 13 of this Plea Agreement, the statute of limitations period for such offense will be tolled for the period between the date of the signing of this Plea Agreement and six (6) months after the date the United States gave notice of its intent to void its obligations under this Plea Agreement.
19. The defendant understands and agrees that in any further prosecution of it resulting from the release of the United States from its obligations under this Plea Agreement, because of the defendant's violation of the Plea Agreement, any documents, statements, information, testimony, or evidence provided by it, or current or former directors, officers, or employees of it to attorneys or agents of the United States, federal grand juries, or courts, and any leads derived therefrom, may be used against it in any such further prosecution. In addition, the defendant unconditionally waives its right to challenge the use of such evidence in any such further prosecution, notwithstanding the protections of Fed. R. Evid. 410.
20. This Plea Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the United States and the defendant concerning the disposition of the criminal charge in this case. This Plea Agreement cannot be modified except in writing, signed by the United States and the defendant.
21. The undersigned is authorized to enter this Plea Agreement on behalf of the defendant as evidenced by the Resolution of the Board of Directors of the defendant attached to, and incorporated by reference in, this Plea Agreement.
22. The undersigned attorneys for the United States have been authorized by the Attorney General of the United States to enter this Plea Agreement on behalf of the United States.
23. A facsimile signature shall be deemed an original signature for the purpose of executing this Plea Agreement. Multiple signature pages are authorized for the purpose of executing this Plea Agreement.