A real estate investor was resentenced yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky to 18 months in prison after his probation was revoked for retaliating against witnesses. He is also required to pay a criminal fine of $171,000 and restitution of $79,000.
Mackie E. Shelton of Scottsville, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to bid rigging a farmland auction on Nov. 29, 2022, in violation of the Sherman Act. According to court documents, Shelton and a co-defendant were real-estate investors who demanded and accepted payoffs to rig the outcome of an April 21, 2018, auction for hundreds of acres of farmland and timber in Allen County, Kentucky. The crime resulted in a financial loss to the Kentucky family selling the property. As a result of his conviction, Shelton lost his professional auctioneer and real-estate licenses, and initially received a sentence of three years of probation with 26 consecutive weekends in jail. While on probation, he retaliated against witnesses who cooperated with law enforcement in the case, resulting in the resentencing. His 18-month prison sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release. He was required to report for prison in two days.
“As part of our commitment to investigating and prosecuting antitrust crimes throughout America’s heartland, we will never hesitate to protect witnesses who cooperate with law enforcement,” said Acting Director of Criminal Enforcement Emma Burnham of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “This sentence is a warning that intimidating or retaliating against witnesses will not be tolerated.”
“Retaliating against a witness strikes at the very heart of our country’s judicial system,” said Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI Miami Field Office. “The FBI will aggressively investigate allegations of witness retaliation as our system of justice demands that actions such as these not be tolerated.”
The FBI’s International Corruption Unit investigated the case.
Trial Attorneys Jariel A. Rendell and Alison M. Friberg of the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal I Section prosecuted the case, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky.
Anyone with information about bid rigging and other antitrust crimes targeting America’s farmers and rural communities should contact the Antitrust Division’s Complaint Center at 888-647-3258, or visit www.justice.gov/atr/report-violations.