A US concrete contractor has pleaded guilty to rigging bids on public repair and construction contracts over a five-year period.
According to court documents filed in the US District Court in Minneapolis, the contractor and others conspired to rig bids on contracts across four municipalities in the state of Minnesota, including local governments and school districts.
Clarence Olson participated in the long-running conspiracy from at least as early as September 2012 until at least as late as July 2017, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said.
Olson pleaded guilty to a violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1m fine.
The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims, if either amount is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
Acting assistant attorney general Richard A. Powers of the DoJ’s Antitrust Division said the case demonstrated the division’s commitment to ensuring the integrity of government procurement.
“Bid-rigging schemes that target local government contracts harm taxpayers, and people who take part in these conspiracies will be held accountable for their actions,” he said.
In November 2019 the DoJ created the Procurement Collusion Strike Force, a joint law enforcement effort to combat antitrust crimes and related fraudulent schemes that impact government procurement.
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