President of Iowa Ready-mix Concrete Company Pleads Guilty to Price Fixing and Bid Rigging
The president of an Iowa ready-mix concrete company pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for the sale of ready-mix concrete, the Department of Justice announced today.
According to a one-count felony charge filed on May 6, 2010 in U.S. District Court in Sioux City, Iowa, Kent Robert Stewart, aka Kent Stewart, president of a ready-mix concrete company located in Iowa, participated in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for ready-mix concrete sold to various companies in Iowa between approximately January 2008 and August 2009.
According to the charge, Stewart participated in a conspiracy in which he engaged in discussions concerning project bids for sales of ready-mix concrete in Iowa, submitted rigged bids at collusive and noncompetitive prices and accepted payment for sales of ready-mix concrete at collusive and noncompetitive prices.
Ready-mix concrete is a product whose ingredients include cement, aggregate (sand and gravel), water, and other additives. The concrete generally is produced in a concrete plant and is transported to work sites by concrete-mixer trucks where it is used in various types of construction projects, including buildings and roads.
Stewart is charged with violating the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $1 million per count for individuals. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
Today’s guilty plea arose from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation of the ready-mix concrete industry in Iowa and its surrounding states. The investigation is being conducted by the Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s Chicago Field Office, the FBI’s Sioux City Resident Agency, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sioux City, Iowa.
Anyone with information concerning bid rigging, price fixing or territorial allocation related to the ready-mix concrete industry in Iowa and its surrounding states should contact the Antitrust Division’s Chicago Field Office at 312-353-7530 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm .