Sunday, June 22, 2008
A DOJ Press Release reports on the Cincinnati packaged-ice manufacturer, The Home City Ice Company (Home City Ice), pleading guilty to a one-count information under the Sherman Act, charging the company with conspiracy. (The Plea Agreement). The press release states that "Home City Ice and co-conspirators carried out the conspiracy by:
- Participating in meetings and conversations to discuss packaged-ice customers and territories in southeastern Michigan and the Detroit metropolitan area;
- Agreeing during those meetings and conversations to allocate packaged-ice customers and territories in southeastern Michigan and the Detroit metropolitan area;
- Exchanging information during those meetings and conversations, for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreements to allocate customers and territories in southeastern Michigan and the Detroit metropolitan area; and
- Refraining from competing for packaged-ice customers and territories that were so allocated."
The Agreement has a cooperation section that calls for the company to cooperate with the government. In this regard, the Agreement also provides for a reduction of the fine if the cooperation is satisfactory to them. It states:
"If the United States determines that the defendant has provided substantial assistance in any investigation or prosecution, and has otherwise fully complied with all of the terms of this Plea Agreement, it will file a motion, pursuant to U.S.S.G. §8C4.1, advising the sentencing judge of all relevant facts pertaining to that determination and requesting the Court to impose a fine departing from the lower end of the guideline range of $24 million to $48 million in light of the factors set forth in U.S.S.G. §8C4.1(b)(1)-(3). The defendant acknowledges that the decision whether it has provided substantial assistance in any investigation or prosecution is within the sole discretion of the United States. It is understood that, should the United States determine that the defendant has not provided substantial assistance in any investigation or prosecution, or should the United States determine that the defendant has violated any provision of this Plea Agreement, such a determination will release the United States from any obligation to file a motion pursuant to U.S.S.G. §8C4.1, but will not entitle the defendant to withdraw its guilty plea once it has been entered. The defendant further understands that, whether or not the United States files a motion pursuant to U.S.S.G. §8C4.1, the sentence to be imposed on it remains within the sole discretion of the sentencing judge."
This case may be the start of more-to-come as there is "an ongoing investigation into the packaged-ice industry."