Bumble Bee Foods President, CEO Indicted For Price Fixing

The president and CEO of Bumble Bee Foods was indicted by a federal grand jury for participating in a conspiracy to fix prices for packaged seafood sold in the United States, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday. Christopher Lischewski is accused of participating in the conspiracy from around November 2010 to December 2013.

“The Antitrust Division is committed to prosecuting senior executives who unjustly profit at the expense of their customers,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “American consumers deserve free enterprise, not fixed prices, so the department will not tolerate crimes like the one charged in today’s indictment.”

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Feds indict Bumble Bee tuna president and CEO in price fixing case

“This indictment demonstrates the personal accountability of senior leadership at corporations,” special agent in charge John F. Bennett said. “The FBI and the Department of Justice will hold corporate leaders accountable for criminal actions that defraud American families.”

Lischewski is accused of agreeing to fix the prices of packaged seafood during meetings and other communications. The co-conspirators issued price announcements and pricing guidance in accordance with these agreements, officials said.

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In 2017, Bumble Bee agreed to plead guilty for its role in the conspiracy and agreed to pay a $25 million criminal fine. Lischewski isn’t the only Bumble Bee executive to be charged in connection with the scheme. In 2016, Walter Scott Cameron, the company’s senior vice president of sales, agreed to plead guilty for his role in the conspiracy.

Bumble Bee has already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to pay a criminal fine of at least $25 million as a result of the government’s ongoing investigation. Lischewski is the fourth person to be charged in the ongoing investigation into the packaged seafood industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office.

If convicted, he faces a potential 10-year prison sentence, a $1 million fine, and other penalties. Bumble Bee could not be reached for comment.