Corporate Crime Case Database
Consistent with the Department’s ongoing commitment to transparency in corporate crime cases, the DOJ launched a new case database. While it is still in the process of being populated, it will eventually contain the significant, relevant cases from each component and U.S. Attorney’s Office, resolved since the beginning of 2023.
On October 30, 2023, the Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota entered into a non-prosecution agreement (“NPA”) with Pro-Mark Services, Inc. Between 2008 and 2020, Pro-Mark’s former owners executed a scheme to obtain government set-aside construction contracts for the company, amounting to approximately $70 million in federal contracts being awarded, despite Pro-Mark not being eligible to compete for these contracts. The former owners then cashed out of company, selling it to Pro-Mark’s employees via an employee stock ownership plan (“ESOP”) transaction. The NPA requires the company to pay a penalty of $949,000 and to continue implementing a compliance and ethics program.
On September 29, 2023, Didion Milling, Inc., pleaded guilty to charges related to a catastrophic explosion at its Cambria, Wisconsin, corn mill facility. Five Didion Milling employees were killed in that explosion and others were injured. The company pleaded guilty to falsifying records related to its Occupational Safety and Health Act and Clean Air Act obligations to conceal violations from government agencies (18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(3)).
Didion Milling was required to operate “baghouses,” equipment designed to prevent particulate matter, such as corn dust, from being released into the environment from the corn mill. From at least 2015 to May 2017, Didion Milling employees, including shift workers and shift superintendents, made false entries in the mill’s “baghouse logs,” disguising data meant to monitor and document whether the mill’s baghouse equipment was working properly to filter particulates from the air. Didion Milling’s environmental manager provided baghouse logs for 2015, 2016 and 2017 to environmental inspectors, knowing that they contained false entries.
The company was also required under Occupational Safety and Health Act safety standards to develop and implement a housekeeping program to reduce the accumulation of fugitive grain dust within its corn mill. Didion Milling maintained a “master sanitation schedule” logbook listing each of the required dust cleanings and the specific dates by which the cleanings were supposed to be completed. The sanitation logbook contained spaces for Didion Milling employees to record that the dust cleanings had been performed and that documentations procedures had been followed. On May 19, 2017, Didion Milling employees falsely initialed, signed and dated entries in the sanitation logbook for the week of May 1 through May 7, 2017, giving the appearance that the required dust cleanings were performed when they had not been. Didion Milling provided the sanitation logbook containing the false May 2017 dust cleaning entries to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) during its investigation of the May 31, 2017 explosion at the Didion Milling corn mill.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conducted the investigation.
On September 28, 2023, a court sentenced FeelGood Natural Health Stores, Ltd., (FeelGood) to pay an $18,000 fine and complete a three-year term of probation to include implementing an environmental compliance plan. FeelGood also will forfeit $1,374. The company pleaded guilty to a felony Lacey Act violation for trafficking in wildlife products (16 U.S.C. §§ 3372(a)(1),(4), 3373(d)(1)(B)).
Between April 2019 and June 2020, this Canadian company made seven shipments of harp seal oil pills from Canada into the United States. FeelGood knew importing marine mammal products such as seal oil is prohibited by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. After illegally importing the seal oil capsules, the company contracted with a third party to transport them for sale in the United States. The total value of these seven shipments was more than $10,000.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement conducted the investigation.
Daniel L. Israel pleaded guilty to one count of entering into and engaging in a combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by agreeing to rig bids for contracts to provide asphalt paving services in the state of Michigan. The Information charged a conspiracy that began at least as early as March 2013 and continued until at least as late as November 2018.
James Travis Feazel pleaded guilty to violating 15 U.S.C. § 1 for his role in a scheme to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate jobs in the performance of erosion control projects throughout Oklahoma. As part of the conspiracy, which began as early as September 2017 and continued until as late as April 2023, Feazel and his co-conspirators, among other things, (1) agreed to allocate bids for erosion control contracts based on geographic delineations within the state of Oklahoma; (2) agreed not to compete for erosion control contracts by either submitting intentionally high-priced bids for jobs allocated to a different company or by declining to submit bids for such jobs altogether; (3) agreed to raise and maintain prices for solid slab sodding and other line items in erosion control contracts; and (4) took steps to conceal co-conspirator communications in furtherance of the conspiracy.
On September 13, 2023, a court sentenced Zeaborn Shipmanagement (Singapore) PTE LTD. (Zeaborn), Captain Alexander Parreno, and Chief Engineer Constancio Estuye. Zeaborn will pay a $1.5 million fine and make a $500,000 community service payment. The company also will complete a four-year term of probation and implement an environmental compliance plan. Parreno and Estuye will pay $2,000 fines; Parreno will complete a one-year term of probation and Estuye will serve two months’ incarceration.
The defendants pleaded guilty to maintaining false and incomplete records relating to the discharge of oily bilge water and garbage on board the vessel Star Maia (33 U.S.C. § 1908(a)).
The defendants illegally burned garbage in barrels onboard the Star Maia and disposed the burnt garbage and barrels directly into the ocean. They illegally discharged oily bilge water from the ship’s engine room directly onto the ocean without using approved pollution prevention equipment. In October 2022, the crew failed to accurately record these disposals in the vessel’s garbage and oil record books as required by U.S. and international law.
The U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service conducted the investigation.
On August 23, 2023, Barry Pierce and his two companies, GDP Tuning and Custom Auto of Rexburg d/b/a Gorilla Performance, pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act and agreed to pay a total of $1 million in criminal fines (18 U.S.C. § 371; 42 U.S.C. § 7413). The companies also agreed to implement compliance programs and to not manufacture, sell or install any device that defeats a vehicle’s emissions controls. Sentencing is scheduled for November 8, 2023.
Between 2016 and 2020, the defendants tampered with a required monitoring device for removing required emissions control devices from (or “deleting”) over 200 diesel trucks at the shop location in Rexburg, Idaho, and reprogramming (or “tuning”) the onboard diagnostic systems of those trucks so they would function without the emissions equipment. GDP engaged in the nation-wide sale of millions of dollars’ worth of tuning devices and tunes for diesel engines.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division conducted the investigation.
On August 1, 2023, Sinister Mfg. Company, Inc. (Sinister) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act (CAA) and defraud the United States, and to violating the CAA by tampering with a monitoring device (18 U.S.C. § 371; 42 U.S.C. § 7413 (c)(2)(C)). Under the plea agreement, the defendant agrees to pay a $500,000 criminal fine and fully comply with the terms of a civil Consent Decree. Sentencing is scheduled for November 14, 2023.
Between 2010 and April 2020, Sinister manufactured and sold parts for use with primarily diesel trucks, to enable “deleting” the trucks’ emissions controls systems by removing or disabling them. Sinister often sold its products as part of “delete kits,” sometimes bundled with “delete tunes.” The delete tunes were software produced by another company which could alter a diesel truck’s on-board computer to allow a truck with its emissions controls “deleted” to appear to run normally. Through its employees, Sinister reached agreements with other companies that manufactured tuners or tuning platforms to sell their products bundled together.
Though the company sometimes labeled its delete products for “racing” and included disclaimers in marketing materials indicating that its products should be used only in off-road settings, the company knew most of its delete products were purchased by diesel truck drivers who used those products on public roads, not racetracks.
The U.S EPA Criminal Investigation Division conducted the investigation with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
On July 6, 2023, a court sentenced Clipper Shipping A.S. after accepting its guilty plea. The company will pay a $1.5 million fine and complete a four-year term of probation to include implementing an environmental compliance plan with third party monitoring. Clipper Shipping admitted to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for failing to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book (33 U.S.C. § 1908).
On October 28, 2021, a crewmember from the M/T Clipper Saturn gave a Coast Guard inspector a digital file that contained evidence of illegal bilge water discharges. Further investigation revealed that the vessel’s Chief Engineer ordered the crew to transfer bilge water into the gray water tank. The crew then used the emergency eductor system to illegally discharge the gray water tank contents. The Chief Engineer that ordered the illegal activity was not on the vessel when it arrived in Houston on October 28, 2021.
The U.S Coast Guard Sector Houston/Galveston and the Coast Guard Investigative Service conducted the investigation.
F. Allied Construction Company, Inc., Andrew Foster, and Kevin Shell each pleaded guilty to two counts of entering into and engaging in a combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by agreeing to rig bids for contracts to provide asphalt paving services in the state of Michigan. Count One charged a conspiracy that began at least as early as June 2013 and continued until at least as late as June 2019. Count Two charged a separate conspiracy that began at least as early as July 2017 and continued until at least as late as May 2021.