WASHINGTON – An executive of a Taiwan manufacturer of aftermarket auto lights was arrested on July 12, 2011, at Los Angeles International Airport and indicted today for participating in a global conspiracy to fix the prices of aftermarket auto lights, the Department of Justice announced today. Aftermarket auto lights are incorporated into an automobile after its original sale, often as repairs following a collision or as accessories and upgrades.
According to a one-count felony indictment filed today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Homy Hong-Ming Hsu conspired with others to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing the prices of aftermarket auto lights. The department said that Hsu, the vice chairman and second highest-ranking officer of a Taiwan manufacturer of aftermarket auto lights, participated in the conspiracy from as early as November 2001 until about September 2008.
According to the charge, Hsu and co-conspirators participated in a conspiracy in which the participants met and agreed to charge prices of aftermarket auto lights at certain predetermined levels. The participants in that conspiracy issued price announcements and price lists in accordance with the agreements reached, and collected and exchanged information on prices and sales of aftermarket auto lights for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreed-upon prices. The department said that the conspirators met in Taiwan, the United States and elsewhere for their discussions.
Hsu is the third individual to be charged in connection with the department’s ongoing investigation into the aftermarket auto lights industry. On March 30, 2011, Polo Shu-Sheng Hsu was sentenced to serve 180 days in prison and to pay a $25,000 criminal fine for his participation in the aftermarket auto lights price-fixing conspiracy. On June 7, 2011, Chien Chung Chen, aka Andrew Chen, pleaded guilty to his participation in the conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 13, 2011. Both Polo Shu-Sheng Hsu and Chen were executives at U.S. companies that distributed aftermarket auto lights.
Hsu is charged with violating the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million criminal fine for individuals. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
This case is part of an ongoing joint investigation of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI in San Francisco. Anyone with information concerning illegal or anticompetitive conduct in the aftermarket auto lights industry is urged to call the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Field Office at 415-436-6660 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm.