WASHINGTON – The former CEO of The Morgan Crucible Company plc, a United Kingdom corporation, was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to obstruct a federal grand jury investigation into price fixing of carbon brushes and other carbon products sold in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced.
Ian P. Norris was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia by Judge Eduardo Robreno. Norris was also sentenced to pay a $25,000 criminal fine. The department said that Norris orchestrated an elaborate conspiracy with his subordinates to obstruct the grand jury’s investigation by creating a false script that employees of both Morgan Crucible and its competitor were to follow when questioned during the investigation. The conspiracy also included the formation of a document destruction task force to collect and destroy or conceal documents from the grand jury, the department said.
"The Antitrust Division uncovered and prosecuted an elaborate scheme to obstruct justice," said Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. "The defendant, the CEO of a major international, publicly traded company, enlisted and led his subordinates in a sophisticated conspiracy that was designed to undermine and obstruct the Antitrust Division’s grand jury investigation. Today’s sentence sends a clear message that those who subvert the integrity of our justice system will face serious consequences."
Carbon products are used to transfer electrical current in automobiles, trains, public transit vehicles and consumer products and are used in pumps and compressors to contain liquids and gases.
Norris has been incarcerated in the federal detention center in Philadelphia since July 27, 2010, the date on which he was convicted by a federal jury of conspiring to obstruct justice. Norris, a citizen of the United Kingdom, was extradited to the United States in March 2010 on the conspiracy charge.
As a result of the department’s investigation into anticompetitive conduct in the carbon products industry, more than $11 million in criminal fines have been obtained, and four executives and two companies have pleaded guilty or have been convicted. The Morgan Crucible Company plc, based in Windsor, England, pleaded guilty in 2002 to two counts of obstruction of justice and paid the statutory maximum fine of $1 million for those offenses. Additionally, a former subsidiary of the company, Morganite Inc., based in Dunn, N.C., pleaded guilty in 2002 to fixing prices of carbon brushes and other carbon products and paid the then statutory maximum fine of $10 million for that illegal conduct.
Three of Norris’s subordinates previously pleaded guilty to obstruction charges and served jail time. Jacobus Johan Anton Kroef, the former chairman of the industrial and traction division of Morgan Crucible, pleaded guilty in 2003 to witness tampering. Robin D. Emerson, former pricing coordinator at Morganite Electrical Carbon Ltd. of Swansea, U.K., pleaded guilty in 2003 to corruptly persuading another individual to destroy or conceal documents in connection with the investigation. F. Scott Brown, the former global president and a member of the board of directors of Morgan Advanced Materials and Technology Inc. (MAMAT), now headquartered in Greenville, S.C., pleaded guilty in 2003 to aiding and abetting document destruction in connection with the investigation. Morganite Electrical Carbon Ltd. and MAMAT are subsidiaries of Morgan Crucible.
Anyone with information concerning price fixing in the carbon brushes industry should contact the Antitrust Division’s Philadelphia Field Office at 215-597-7405 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm.