Claxton Poultry Farms is facing criminal charges of price-fixing in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Colorado on May 19.
A release from the U.S. Department of Justice names company president Mikell Fries and vice president Scott Brady as participants in a conspiracy with competitors to suppress competition and fix prices. The charges against Claxton are part of an ongoing probe by the Justice Department. Fries and Brady were already criminally charged in the probe last October.
Claxton was charged under the Sherman Antitrust Act. Violations carry a maximum fine of $100 million, although that can be increased under certain conditions.
The Justice Department probe has already resulted in a guilty plea from Pilgrim’s Pride, which agreed to pay a $107.9 million fine.
“As this charge shows, we will not hesitate to prosecute crimes designed to put money in corporate coffers and line executives’ pockets at the expense of everyday Americans, including the hundreds of millions of us who rely on chicken to be an affordable staple food,” acting assistant attorney general Richard A. Powers of the Justice Department’s antitrust division said in the release.