WASHINGTON — A former president of an Illinois refuse disposal container repair company was sentenced today for his role in a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with bids on a contract for the repair of refuse carts for the city of Chicago, the Department of Justice announced today.
Douglas E. Ritter, an Illinois resident, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Ruben Castillo to serve 16 months in prison and to pay $35,303 in restitution for his participation in a conspiracy to defraud the city of Chicago on a contract for the repair of refuse carts from as early as November 2004 to as late as September 2008. Ritter, along with his business partner Steven Fenzl, was charged in an indictment filed on April 21, 2009, in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Ritter pleaded guilty to the conspiracy on June 3, 2010. Fenzl, a California resident, was found guilty by a jury on Sept. 28, 2010, of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. Fenzl is scheduled to be sentenced on June 15, 2011.
According to the indictment, Ritter, Fenzl and their co-conspirator conspired to deceive city of Chicago officials about the number of legitimate, competitive bids submitted for the contract. Specifically, Ritter and his co-conspirators fraudulently induced other companies to submit bids for the contract at prices determined by Ritter and his co-conspirators and greater than the price for which Ritter’s company had submitted a bid. The department said that included in these bids were fraudulent documents indicating that, if awarded the contract, the bidder would enter into subcontracts to purchase goods or services for a specified percentage of the contract from a minority-owned business and a women-owned business, as required by the city of Chicago. According to the indictment, Ritter and his co-conspirators also fraudulently certified to the city on Ritter’s company’s bid that it had not entered an agreement with any other bidder relating to the price named in any other bid submitted to the city for the contract.
Today’s sentencing resulted from an ongoing investigation of the refuse cart repair industry being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Chicago Field Office and the city of Chicago’s Office of Inspector General.
Anyone with information concerning bid rigging or other anticompetitive conduct involving government or private contracts with the city of Chicago is urged to call the Antitrust Division’s Chicago Field Office at 312-353-7530 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm .