Justice Department Sues Agri Stats for Operating Extensive Information Exchanges Among Meat Processors
Note: The indictment against the Defendant, Michael Zmijewski, was dismissed on Oct. 19, 2022.
A federal grand jury in the Northern District of Illinois returned a one-count indictment charging Michael Zmijewski for his role in a money laundering conspiracy involving kickbacks. Zmijewski is a former President of Mr. David’s Flooring International LLC (Mr. David’s), a Chicago-based commercial flooring contractor. Zmijewski is the sixth individual, along with three companies, that have been charged as result of the ongoing federal antitrust investigation.
According to the indictment, Zmijewski engaged in a money laundering conspiracy to conceal kickback payments he authorized Mr. David’s to pay to Carter Brett, an account executive for a large flooring manufacturer, in exchange for low pricing. According to the charge, Zmijewski authorized checks from Mr. David’s to a shell corporation established by Brett for the sole purpose of receiving the illegal kickback payments. According to the charge, Zmijewski and his co-conspirators carried out the conspiracy from at least as early as 2013 until as late as June 13, 2018.
“The Antitrust Division, together with our law enforcement partners, will vigorously prosecute those who break the law to undermine competition, including those who conspire to launder illicit proceeds of crimes,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
“Kickbacks have no place in the American marketplace,” said Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. of the FBI’s Chicago Field Office. “This indictment serves as a warning to anyone looking to profit illegally at the expense of consumers.”
The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit money laundering is 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of $500,000. The fine may be increased to twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, if that amount is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The charges are the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into bid rigging, price fixing, and other anticompetitive conduct in the commercial flooring industry, conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Chicago Office and the FBI’s Chicago Field Division.
Anyone with information in connection with this investigation should contact the Antitrust Division’s Complaint Center at 888-647-3258, or visit http://www.justice.gov/atr/report-violations.