Of all the industries to be rocked by scandal, you probably never expected that Big Tuna would be a hotbed of conspiracy. And yet, another fishy exec has agreed to plead guilty to his part in a price-fixing scheme that resulted in American shoppers paying more at the store.
The Department of Justice says that the former senior vice president of sales at StarKist was part of a conspiracy of three executives who, according to the federal government, illegally discussed the prices of their products and agreed on prices, keeping the cost of shelf-stable fish artificially high from at least 2011 to 2013.
The StarKist executive is the third executive who was part of the conspiracy to plead guilty: The other two worked for competitor Bumble Bee. He will be sentenced at an undetermined later date, and in the meantime will pay a fine and cooperate with the investigation.
“With today’s plea, the Antitrust Division continues to send a strong signal that senior executives will be held accountable for their actions,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Andrew Finch of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division said in a statement, vowing that prosecutors and their colleagues in law enforcement will “continue to investigate price fixing among packaged seafood companies and the executives who worked at those companies.”
Last month, Bumble Bee pleaded guilty as a company to the same scheme, and agreed to pay a $25 million fine for its role in a scheme to set the price of shelf-stable fish artificially high for at least two years.