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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
JACKSONVILLE DIVISION

FILED IN OPEN COURT
10-20-08
CLERK U.S. DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
JACKSONVILLE DIVISION



UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,    

                  v.

PETER BACI


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Case No.: 3:08-cr-350-J-32TEM

Ct. 1: 15 U.S.C. § 1



PLEA AGREEMENT

The United States of America and PETER BACI ("defendant") hereby enter into the following Plea Agreement pursuant to Rule 11(c)(1)(C) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure ("Fed. R. Crim. P."):

RIGHTS OF DEFENDANT

1. The defendant understands his rights:

  1. to be represented by an attorney;
  2. to be charged by Indictment;
  3. to plead not guilty to any criminal charge brought against him;
  4. to have a trial by jury, at which he would be presumed not guilty of the charge and the United States would have to prove every essential element of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt for him to be found guilty;
  5. to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him and to subpoena witnesses in his defense at trial;
  6. not to be compelled to incriminate himself;
  7. to appeal his conviction, if he is found guilty; and
  8. to appeal the imposition of sentence against him.

AGREEMENT TO PLEAD GUILTY
AND WAIVE CERTAIN RIGHTS

2. The defendant knowingly and voluntarily waives the rights set out in paragraph 1(b)-(g) above, including all jurisdictional defenses to the prosecution of this case, and agrees voluntarily to consent to the jurisdiction of the United States to prosecute this case against him in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. 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 or a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 or 2255, that challenges the sentence imposed by the Court if that sentence is consistent with the agreed-upon Guidelines calculations in Paragraph 8 of this Plea Agreement. This agreement does not affect the rights or obligations of the United States as set forth in 18 U.S.C. §§ 3742(b), (c). Pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 7(b), the defendant will waive indictment and plead guilty at arraignment to a one-count Information to be filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The Information will charge the defendant with participating in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition in the market for coastal water freight shipments between the United States and Puerto Rico by agreeing to allocate customers; agreeing to rig bids submitted to government and commercial buyers; and agreeing to fix the prices of rates, surcharges and other fees charged to customers; from at least as early as May 2002 and until at least April 2008, 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. The United States agrees that at the arraignment, it will stipulate to the release of the defendant on his personal recognizance, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142, pending the sentencing hearing in this case.

FACTUAL BASIS FOR OFFENSE CHARGED

4. Had this case gone to trial, the United States would have presented evidence sufficient to prove the following facts:

  1. For purposes of this Plea Agreement, the "relevant period" is that period from at least as early as May 2002, until at least April 2008. During the relevant period, the defendant worked for CORPORATION A as Senior Vice President of Yield Management. CORPORATION A is an entity organized and existing under the laws of the State of Florida with its principal place of business in Jacksonville, Florida, where the defendant was based. During the relevant period, CORPORATION A provided water transportation for freight between the United States and Puerto Rico ("Puerto Rico freight services") and elsewhere. CORPORATION A's Puerto Rico freight services transported a variety of cargo shipments, such as heavy equipment, medicines, and consumer goods, on scheduled ocean voyages to and from the United States and Puerto Rico for commercial and government customers, such as Wal-Mart and the United States Postal Service. During the relevant period, CORPORATION A's sales of Puerto Rico freight services totaled more than $1 billion.
  2. During the relevant period, the defendant participated in a conspiracy with one or more providers of Puerto Rico freight services, a primary purpose of which was to suppress and eliminate competition. During the relevant period, the defendant committed acts in furtherance of the conspiracy, including engaging in discussions and attending meetings with representatives of one or more competing providers of Puerto Rico freight services. During such discussions and meetings, agreements were reached between and among competitors for Puerto Rico freight services to allocate customers, rig bids submitted to government and commercial buyers, and to fix the prices of rates, surcharges and other fees charged to customers ("Relevant Offense"). The defendant was a manager or supervisor in the conspiracy which involved at least five participants and was otherwise extensive.
  3. During the relevant period, the defendant and his co-conspirators sold Puerto Rico freight services and conducted those services in interstate commerce between and among the United States and Puerto Rico. During the relevant period, the defendant and his co-conspirators transmitted and received bids, proposals, contracts, invoices for payment, payments, and other documents essential to the provision of Puerto Rico freight services in interstate commerce. The business activities of the defendant and his co-conspirators in connection with the sale and provision of Puerto Rico freight services affected by this conspiracy were within the flow of, and substantially affected, interstate commerce.
  4. Acts in furtherance of this conspiracy were carried out within the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division. The conspiratorial meetings and conversations described above took place in the United States and elsewhere, and at least one of these meetings occurred in this District within the preceding five years.

POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE

5. The defendant understands that the statutory maximum penalty which may be imposed against him upon conviction for a violation of Section One of the Sherman Antitrust Act is:

  1. a term of imprisonment for ten (10) years (15 U.S.C. § 1);
  2. a fine in an amount equal to the greatest of (1) $1 million, (2) twice the gross pecuniary gain the conspirators derived from the crime, or (3) twice the gross pecuniary loss caused to the victims of the crime by the conspirators (15 U.S.C. § 1; 18 U.S.C. § 3571(b) and (d)); and
  3. a term of supervised release of three (3) years following any term of imprisonment. If the defendant violates any condition of supervised release, the defendant could be imprisoned for up to two (2) years (18 U.S.C. § 3559(a)(3); 18 U.S.C. § 3583(b)(2) and (e)(3); and United States Sentencing Guidelines ("U.S.S.G.," "Sentencing Guidelines," or "Guidelines") §5D1.2(a)(2)).

6. In addition, the defendant understands that:

  1. pursuant to U.S.S.G. §5E1.1 or 18 U.S.C. § 3663(a)(3) or 3583(d), the Court may order him to pay restitution to the victims of the offense; and
  2. pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3013(a)(2)(A), the Court is required to order the defendant to pay a $100.00 special assessment upon conviction for the charged crime.

SENTENCING GUIDELINES

7. The defendant understands that the Sentencing Guidelines are advisory, not mandatory, and that the Court must consider the Guidelines in effect on the day of sentencing, 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). Pursuant to U.S.S.G. §1B1.8, the United States agrees that self-incriminating information that the defendant provides to the United States pursuant to this Plea Agreement will not be used to increase the volume of affected commerce attributable to the defendant or in determining the defendant's applicable Guidelines range, except to the extent provided in U.S.S.G. §1B1.8(b).

SENTENCING AGREEMENT

8. Pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(c)(1)(C), the United States and the defendant agree to the following Guidelines calculations ("agreed-upon Guidelines calculations"):

  1. The November 1, 2007 edition of the Guidelines applies.
  2. The controlling Guideline applicable to the sole count charged is U.S.S.G. § 2R1.1.
  3. Pursuant to the Guidelines § 2R1.1(a)(1), the base offense level is 12.
  4. The offense to which the defendant is pleading guilty involved participation in an agreement to submit non-competitive bids, within the meaning of U.S.S.G. §2R1.1(b)(1), which increases the offense level by 1.
  5. The volume of commerce attributable to the defendant within the meaning of U.S.S.G. §2R1.1(b)(2) is more than $1,000,000,000, which increases the offense level by 14.
  6. Based on the defendant's role in the offense, a 3-level increase in the offense level is appropriate pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1.
  7. Based on the defendant's efforts to obstruct justice with respect to the investigation of the offense, a 2-level increase in the offense level is appropriate pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1.
  8. The resulting Total Offense Level is 32.
  9. The parties agree to a Guidelines criminal fine of $20,000, payable in full before the fifteenth (15th) day after the date of judgment.
  10. The parties agree that there exists no aggravating or mitigating circumstance of a kind, or to a degree, not adequately taken into consideration by the United States Sentencing Commission in formulating the 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 agreed-upon Guidelines calculations set forth in this paragraph are reasonable.

9. The United States will not object to the defendant's request that the Court make a recommendation to the Bureau of Prisons that the Bureau of Prisons designate that the defendant be assigned to a Federal Minimum Security Camp (or one such specific Camp as the defendant may request prior to his sentencing) to serve his sentence of imprisonment and that the defendant be released following the imposition of sentence to allow him to self-surrender to the assigned correctional facility on a specified date after his sentencing.

10. The United States does not oppose a two-level reduction in the defendant's adjusted offense level, based upon the defendant's apparent prompt recognition and affirmative acceptance of personal responsibility for his criminal conduct. The United States agrees to make a motion pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1(b) for an additional one-level decrease in recognition of the defendant's timely notification of his intention to plead guilty. The United States may oppose any adjustment for acceptance of responsibility if the defendant (a) fails to admit each and every item in the factual stipulation; (b) denies involvement in the offense; (c) gives conflicting statements about his involvement in the offense; (d) is untruthful with the Court, this Office, or the United States Probation Office; (e) obstructs or attempts to obstruct justice prior to sentencing; (f) engages in any criminal conduct between the date of this agreement and the date of sentencing; or (g) attempts to withdraw his plea of guilty.

11. The defendant understands that there is no agreement as to his criminal history or criminal history category, and that his criminal history or criminal history category could alter his offense level, if he is a career offender or if the instant offense was a part of a pattern of criminal conduct from which he derived a substantial portion of his income.

12. If the United States determines that the defendant has provided substantial assistance in an investigation or prosecution of others, and if he has fully complied with all of his obligations under this agreement, the United States will make a motion, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1, requesting the Court to sentence the defendant in light of the advisory factors set forth in § 5K1.1(a)(1)-(5) and requesting a downward departure of up to four levels. The United States shall have sole discretion in determining whether the defendant has provided such substantial assistance and, therefore, whether any motion pursuant to § 5K1.1 should be made. The United States' determination of whether the defendant has provided substantial assistance will not depend in any way on the outcome of any trial or other proceeding at which the defendant testifies. If the United States makes such a motion, the defendant is bound by the departure level recommended by the United States. It is understood that should the United States determine that the defendant has not provided substantial assistance in an investigation or prosecution, such a determination will release the United States from any obligation to make a motion pursuant to § 5K1.1, but will not entitle the defendant to withdraw his guilty plea once it has been entered. It is understood that, even if such a motion is made, the sentence to be imposed on the defendant remains within the sole discretion of the Court.

13. The United States and the defendant agree that with respect to the calculation of the advisory Guidelines range, no other offense characteristics, sentencing guidelines factors, potential departures or adjustments as set forth in Chapters 2, 3, 4, or 5 of the Sentencing Guidelines will be raised, argued, or are in dispute. However, at the time of sentencing, and in the event that no adverse information is received suggesting such a recommendation to be unwarranted, the United States will recommend to the Court that the defendant receive a sentence of incarceration at the bottom of the applicable Guidelines range and a criminal fine of $20,000, payable in full before the fifteenth (15th) day after the date of judgment.

14. Subject to the ongoing, full, and truthful cooperation of the defendant described in paragraph 16 of 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 his 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.

15. The United States and the defendant understand that the Court retains complete discretion to accept or reject the agreed-upon Guidelines calculations provided for in Paragraph 8 of this Plea Agreement.

  1. If the Court does not accept the agreed-upon Guidelines calculations, the United States and the defendant agree that this Plea Agreement, except for Paragraph 15(b) below, shall be rendered void. Neither party may withdraw from this Plea Agreement, however, based on the type or location of the correctional facility to which the defendant is assigned to serve his sentence.
  2. If the Court does not accept the agreed-upon Guidelines calculations, the defendant will be free to withdraw his guilty plea (Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(c)(5) and (d)). If the defendant withdraws his plea of guilty, this Plea Agreement, the guilty plea, and any statement made in the course of any proceedings under Fed. R. Crim. P. 11 regarding the guilty plea or this Plea Agreement or made in the course of plea discussions with an attorney for the government shall not be admissible against the defendant in any criminal or civil proceeding, except as otherwise provided in Fed. R. Evid. 410. In addition, the defendant agrees that, if he withdraws his guilty plea pursuant to this subparagraph of the Plea Agreement, the statute of limitations period for any Relevant Offense, as defined in Paragraph 17 below, shall be tolled for the period between the date of the signing of the Plea Agreement and the date the defendant withdrew his guilty plea or for a period of sixty (60) days after the date of the signing of the Plea Agreement, whichever period is greater.

DEFENDANT'S COOPERATION

16. The defendant will cooperate fully and truthfully with the United States in the prosecution of this case and the investigation of any conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by allocating market shares and customers, rigging bids, and fixing prices for Puerto Rico freight services, 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:

  1. producing all non-privileged documents, including claimed personal documents, and other materials, wherever located, in the possession, custody, or control of the defendant, requested by attorneys and agents of the United States;
  2. making himself available for interviews upon the request of attorneys and agents of the United States;
  3. responding fully and truthfully to all inquiries of the United States in connection with any Federal Proceeding, without falsely implicating any person or intentionally withholding any information, subject to the penalties of making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) and obstruction of justice (18 U.S.C. § 1503 et seq.);
  4. otherwise voluntarily providing the United States with any non-privileged material or information, not requested in (a) - (c) of this paragraph, that he may have that is related to any Federal Proceeding; and
  5. when called upon to do so by the United States in connection with any Federal Proceeding, testifying in the grand jury, trial, and other judicial proceedings, fully, truthfully, and under oath, subject to the penalties of perjury (18 U.S.C. § 1621), false statements or declarations in grand jury or court proceedings (18 U.S.C. § 1623), contempt (18 U.S.C. §§ 401-02), and obstruction of justice (18 U.S.C. § 1503 et seq.).

GOVERNMENT'S AGREEMENT

17. Subject to the full, truthful, and continuing cooperation of the defendant, as described in paragraph 16 of this Plea Agreement, and upon the Court's acceptance of the guilty plea called for by this Plea Agreement and the imposition of sentence, the United States will not bring further criminal charges against the defendant for any act or offense committed before the date of this Plea Agreement that was undertaken in furtherance of any conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by allocating market shares and customers, rigging bids, and fixing prices for Puerto Rico freight services or undertaken in connection with any investigation of such a conspiracy ("Relevant Offense"). 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.

18. The defendant understands that he 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.

REPRESENTATION BY COUNSEL

19. The defendant has reviewed all legal and factual aspects of this case with his attorney and is fully satisfied with his attorney's legal representation. The defendant has thoroughly reviewed this Plea Agreement with his attorney and has received satisfactory explanations from his attorney concerning each paragraph of this Plea Agreement and alternatives available to the defendant other than entering into this Plea Agreement. After conferring with his attorney and considering all available alternatives, the defendant has made a knowing and voluntary decision to enter into this Plea Agreement.

VOLUNTARY PLEA

20. 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.

VIOLATION OF PLEA AGREEMENT

21. 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 16 of this Plea Agreement, or has otherwise violated any provision of this Plea Agreement, the United States will notify the defendant or his counsel in writing by personal or overnight delivery or facsimile transmission and may also notify his 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 Relevant Offense, 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.

22. The defendant understands and agrees that in any further prosecution of him resulting from the release of the United States from its obligations under this Plea Agreement based on the defendant's violation of the Plea Agreement, any documents, statements, information, testimony, or evidence provided by him to attorneys or agents of the United States, federal grand juries, or courts, and any leads derived therefrom, may be used against him in any such further prosecution. In addition, the defendant unconditionally waives his right to challenge the use of such evidence in any such further prosecution, notwithstanding Fed. R. Evid. 410.

ENTIRETY OF AGREEMENT

23. 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.

24. 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.

25. 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.

DATED this 23 day of September, 2008.



BY: _______________/s/________________
PETER BACI
Defendant



_______________/s/________________
GERALD L. HOULIHAN
Counsel for Peter Baci
BY: _______________/s/________________
JOHN F. TERZAKEN
BRENT M. SNYDER
FINNUALA M. KELLEHER
MICHAEL L. WHITLOCK
Trial Attorneys, Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Justice
450 5th Street NW, Suite 11300
Washington DC, 20530