Georgia Concrete Supplier to Pay $20M in DOJ Agreement

The U.S. Department of Justice entered an agreement last week with ready-mix concrete producer, Argos USA LLC, after finding they collaborated with rivals to fix prices, manipulate bids and divide customers.

Concrete FixingPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

Argos was charged with one felony count for its part in a conspiracy that allegedly covered markets for ready-mix concrete in the Southern District of Georgia between 2010 and 2016. The deferred prosecution agreement entails a $20 million criminal penalty and the continued cooperation in ongoing investigations related to the scheme.

Head of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division and Assistant Attorney General, Makan Delrahim, said in a statement that the case shows enforcers are dedicated to going after “those who cheat American consumers out of competitively priced critical commercial products.”

“Price-fixing, market allocation and bid-rigging are not only unethical, but illegal,” Delrahim said. “The division, along with its law enforcement partners, remains focused on prosecuting those responsible for this type of conduct.”

According to the criminal information, Argos conspired with other companies to coordinate price increases, surcharges and other fees for ready-mix cement.

In a statement, Argos acknowledged the DOJ agreement and admitted to participating in the scheme between October 2011, when Argos acquired the ready-mix supplier, and July 2016. However, leadership also claimed the conduct concerned only a small number of former employees at a sales office in Pooler, Georgia. Those employees allegedly joined the company through an acquisition after the misconduct had begun.

“Argos USA’s management outside of the Pooler office did not participate in or condone the conduct, which was undertaken in contravention of company compliance policies,” the statement said. “Argos USA accepts responsibility for the misconduct of its former employees and is committed to continuing its cooperation with the DOJ in this matter.”

In addition to the criminal probe Argos must now cooperate in, there is an ongoing civil case concerning the ready-mix concrete markets in Georgia and South Carolina.

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