Delmar E. Church Jr., the president and one of the principal owners of a Chicago-area commercial flooring company, pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to rig bids and fix prices for commercial flooring services and products sold in the United States, the Department of Justice announced. The defendant is cooperating with the department’s ongoing investigation.
According to the plea agreement filed in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, Illinois, from at least as early as 2009 until at least June 22, 2017, Church engaged in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition in the commercial flooring market by agreeing with other individuals and companies to submit complementary bids so the designated company would win the bid. Church’s plea is the sixth plea in the investigation.
“American businesses and institutions deserve the benefits of competition when soliciting bids for commercial construction services and products,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “The recent guilty plea — a plea from the highest-ranking executive to date — marks the continued progress of and latest milestone in this investigation. The Antitrust Division and its law enforcement partners are committed to holding responsible the most-senior culpable individuals that engage in and direct harmful bid rigging conspiracies.”
“Competition in the marketplace helps level the playing field for both businesses and consumers,” said Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Chicago Field Office. “This guilty plea serves as a warning to bid riggers and price fixers that the FBI and its partners will hold them accountable for their crimes.”
Violations of the Sherman Act carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million criminal fine for individuals. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
The guilty plea is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into bid rigging, price fixing, and other anticompetitive conduct in the commercial flooring industry being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Chicago Office and the FBI’s Chicago Field Office. Anyone with information on bid rigging, price fixing, or other anticompetitive conduct related to the commercial flooring industry should contact the Antitrust Division’s Chicago Office at 312-984-7200 or Citizen Complaint Center at 888-647-3258, or visit http://www.justice.gov/atr/report-violations.