EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA
The United States of America, by undersigned counsel, the defendant, GERALD THERMOS, and the defendant's counsel have entered into the following agreement pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The terms of the agreement are as follows:
1. Offense and Maximum Penalties
The defendant agrees to waive indictment and plead guilty to a single count criminal information charging the defendant with participating in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by allocating customers and rigging bids for contracts of foam-filled marine fenders and buoys in the United States and elsewhere from in or about June 2000, continuing until in or about August 2005, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1. The maximum penalties for this offense are a term of ten years of imprisonment, a fine in an amount equal to the greatest of (1) $1,000,000, (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)), full restitution, a special assessment, and three years of supervised release. The defendant understands that this supervised release term is in addition to any prison term the defendant may receive, and that a violation of a term of supervised release could result in the defendant being returned to prison for up to two years.
2. Factual Basis for the Plea
The defendant will plead guilty because the defendant is in fact guilty of the charged offense. The defendant admits the facts set forth in the Statement of Facts filed with this plea agreement and agrees that those facts establish guilt of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt. The Statement of Facts, which is hereby incorporated into this plea agreement, constitutes a stipulation of facts for purposes of Section 1B1.2(a) of the Sentencing Guidelines.
3. Assistance and Advice of Counsel
The defendant is satisfied that the defendant's attorney has rendered effective assistance. The defendant understands that by entering into this agreement, defendant surrenders certain rights as provided in this agreement. The defendant understands that the rights of criminal defendants include the following:
4. Role of the Court and the Probation Office
The defendant understands that the Court has jurisdiction and authority to impose any sentence within the statutory maximum described above but that the Court will determine the defendant's actual sentence in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). The defendant understands that the Court has not yet determined a sentence and that any estimate of the advisory sentencing range under the U.S. Sentencing Commission's Sentencing Guidelines Manual ("U.S.S.G.") the defendant may have received from the defendant's counsel, the United States, or the Probation Office, is a prediction, not a promise, and is not binding on the United States, the Probation Office, or the Court. Additionally, pursuant to the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738, the Court, after considering the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), may impose a sentence above or below the advisory sentencing range, subject only to review by higher courts for reasonableness. The United States makes no promise or representation concerning what sentence the defendant will receive, and the defendant cannot withdraw a guilty plea based upon the actual sentence. Pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 1B1.11(b), the United States and the defendant agree that the November 1, 2004 version of the U.S.S.G., which was in effect on the date that the offense of conviction was committed, should be used since the November 1, 2005 version of the U.S.S.G. would result in a higher adjusted offense level for the offense to which the defendant is pleading guilty. Pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 6B1.4, the United States and the defendant enter into the following stipulations. The United States and the defendant understand and agree that these stipulations are not binding upon either the Probation Office or the Court. The Court may make factual determinations that differ from these stipulations and that may result in an increase or decrease in the Sentencing Guidelines range and the sentence that may be imposed on the defendant.
5. Waiver of Appeal, FOIA and Privacy Act Rights
The defendant also understands that Title 18, United States Code, Section 3742 affords a defendant the right to appeal the sentence imposed. Nonetheless, the defendant knowingly waives the right to appeal the conviction and any sentence within the statutory maximum described above (or the manner in which that sentence was determined) on the grounds set forth in Title 18, United States Code, Section 3742 or on any ground whatsoever, in exchange for the concessions made by the United States in this plea agreement. This agreement does not affect the rights or obligations of the United States as set forth in Title 18, United States Code, Section 3742(b). The defendant also hereby waives all rights, whether asserted directly or by a representative, to request or receive from any department or agency of the United States any records pertaining to the investigation or prosecution of this case, including without limitation any records that may be sought under the Freedom of Information Act, Title 5, United States Code, Section 552, or the Privacy Act, Title 5, United States Code, Section 552a.
6. Sentencing Agreement
Pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(c)(1)(B), the United States and the defendant agree that the appropriate disposition of this case is, and agree to recommend jointly, that the Court impose a sentence requiring the defendant to pay to the United States a criminal fine of $50,000 and to serve a sentence of eight (8) months that includes a four (4) month period of incarceration followed by a term of supervised release with a condition requiring four (4) months home detention, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5C1.1(d)(2) ("the Recommended Sentence").
7. Special Assessment
Before sentencing in this case, the defendant agrees to pay a mandatory special assessment of one hundred dollars ($100.00) per count of conviction.
8. Payment of Monetary Penalties
The defendant understands and agrees that, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 3613, whatever monetary penalties are imposed by the Court will be due and payable immediately and subject to immediate enforcement by the United States as provided for in Section 3613. Furthermore, the defendant agrees to provide all of his financial information to the United States and the Probation Office and, if requested, to participate in a pre-sentencing debtor's examination. If the Court imposes a schedule of payments, the defendant understands that the schedule of payments is merely a minimum schedule of payments and not the only method, nor a limitation on the methods, available to the United States to enforce the judgment if necessary.
9. Immunity from Further Prosecution
Subject to the full, truthful, and continuing cooperation of the defendant, as described in Paragraph 10 of this Plea Agreement, and upon the Court's acceptance of the guilty plea called for by this Plea Agreement and the imposition of the recommended 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 an antitrust conspiracy involving the manufacture or sale of foam-filled marine fenders and buoys ("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.
10. Defendant's Cooperation
The defendant agrees to 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 marine fenders industry, 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 Proceedings"). In that regard:
11. Use of Information Provided by the Defendant Under This Agreement
Pursuant to Section 1B1.8 of the Sentencing Guidelines, no truthful information that the defendant provides pursuant to this agreement will be used to enhance the defendant's guidelines range. The United States will bring this plea agreement and the full extent of the defendant's cooperation to the attention of other prosecuting offices if requested. Nothing in this plea agreement, however, restricts the Court's or Probation Office's access to information and records in the possession of the United States. Furthermore, nothing in this agreement prevents the Government in any way from prosecuting the defendant should the defendant provide false, untruthful, or perjurious information or testimony or from using information provided by the defendant in furtherance of any forfeiture action, whether criminal or civil, administrative or judicial.
12. Defendant Must Provide Full, Complete and Truthful Cooperation
This plea agreement is not conditioned upon charges being brought against any other individual. This plea agreement is not conditioned upon any outcome in any pending investigation. This plea agreement is not conditioned upon any result in any future prosecution which may occur because of the defendant's cooperation. This plea agreement is not conditioned upon any result in any future grand jury presentation or trial involving charges resulting from this investigation. This plea agreement is conditioned upon the defendant providing full, complete and truthful cooperation.
13. Motion for a Downward Departure
The parties agree that the United States reserves the right to seek any departure from the applicable sentencing guidelines, pursuant to Section 5K1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines and Policy Statements, or any reduction of sentence pursuant to Rule 35(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, if, in its sole discretion, the United States determines that such a departure or reduction of sentence is appropriate.
14. Breach of the Plea Agreement and Remedies
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 10 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.
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 the protections of Fed. R. Evid. 410.
15. Nature of the Agreement and Modifications
This written agreement constitutes the complete plea agreement between the United States, the defendant, and the defendant's counsel. The defendant and his attorney acknowledge that no threats, promises, or representations have been made, nor agreements reached, other than those set forth in writing in this plea agreement, to cause the defendant to plead guilty. Any modification of this plea agreement shall be valid only as set forth in writing in a supplemental or revised plea agreement signed by all parties. 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.
Defendant's Signature: I hereby agree that I have consulted with my attorney and fully understand all rights with respect to the pending criminal information. Further, I fully understand all rights with respect to 18 U.S.C. § 3553 and the provisions of the Sentencing Guidelines Manual that may apply in my case. I have read this plea agreement and carefully reviewed every part of it with my attorney. I understand this agreement and voluntarily agree to it.
Date: 6/9/06 _______________/s/________________
Defense Counsel Signature: I am counsel for the defendant in this case. I have fully explained to the defendant the defendant's rights with respect to the pendinginformation. Further, I have reviewed 18 U.S.C. § 3553 and the Sentencing Guidelines Manual, and I have fully explained to the defendant the provisions that may apply in this case. I have carefully reviewed every part of this plea agreement with the defendant. To my knowledge, the defendant's decision to enter into this agreement is an informed and voluntary one.
Date: 6/8/06 _______________/s/________________
Brian J. Hennigan
Date: 9/15/06 _______________/s/________________
EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA
If this case proceeded to trial, the United States would be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following facts:
1. For purposes of this Statement of Facts, the "relevant period" is that period from on or about June 2000, continuing until on or about August 2005. From the beginning of the relevant period until on or about April 28, 2004, the defendant was President of Urethane Products Corporation ("UPC"). From on or around the beginning of May 2004 until the end of the relevant period, the defendant was President of Marine Fenders International, Inc. ("MFI"). Both UPC and MFI are entities organized and existing under the laws of California and have their principal places of business in Los Angeles County, California.
2. Foam-filled marine fenders are used as a cushion between ships and either fixed structures such as docks or piers, or floating structures such as other ships. Foam-filled buoys are used in a variety of applications including as channel markers and navigational aids. For purposes of this Statement of Facts, foam-filled marine fenders and buoys refers to fenders and buoys constructed of an elastomer shell filled with closed-cell polyethylene foam. During the relevant period, both UPC and MFI manufactured and sold foam-filled marine fenders and buoys in the United States and elsewhere.
3. During the relevant period, the defendant participated in a conspiracy with other persons and entities engaged in the manufacture and sale of foam-filled marine fenders and buoys, the primary purpose of which was to allocate customers and rig bids for contracts of foam-filled marine fenders and buoys sold in the United States and elsewhere. In furtherance of the conspiracy, the defendant attended meetings and engaged in discussions by telephone, facsimile and electronic mail with executives of other firms engaged in the manufacture and sale of foam-filled fenders and buoys. During these meetings and discussions, the defendant and co-conspirators agreed to allocate customers and rig bids for contracts of foam-filled marine fenders and buoys sold in the United States and elsewhere, including foam-filled marine fenders and buoys sold to the U.S. Coast Guard and elements of the Department of Defense, including the U.S. Navy, as well as private companies.
4. During the relevant period, foam-filled marine fenders and buoys sold by one or more of the conspirator firms, and equipment and supplies necessary to the production and distribution of foam-filled marine fenders and buoys, as well as payments for foam-filled marine fenders and buoys, traveled in interstate commerce. The business activities of UPC and MFI, and co-conspirators, in connection with the production and sale of foam-filled marine fenders and buoys affected by this conspiracy were within the flow of, and substantially affected, interstate trade and commerce.
5. Acts in furtherance of this conspiracy were carried out within the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division. Foam-filled marine fenders and buoys affected by this conspiracy were sold by one or more of the conspirators to customers in this District.
6. This Statement of Facts does not contain each and every fact known to the defendant and to the United States concerning the defendant's and others' involvement in the charges set forth in the Plea Agreement.
After consulting with my attorney and pursuant to the plea agreement entered into this day between the defendant GERALD THERMOS and the United States, I hereby stipulate that the above Statement of Facts is true and accurate, and that had the matter proceeded to trial, the United States would have proved the same beyond a reasonable doubt.
I am GERALD THERMOS's attorney. I have carefully reviewed the above Statement of Facts with him. To my knowledge, his decision to stipulate to these facts is an informed and voluntary one.