Former Exec Pleads Guilty in Antitrust Case
A former executive with a Lafayette-based water treatment chemicals manufacturer has pleaded guilty to his role in an antitrust conspiracy case. The U.S. Department of Justice says Brian Steppig admitted to agreeing with competitors to not compete for contracts over a six-year period.
Steppig formerly served as director of sales and marketing for GEO Specialty Chemicals Inc. Court documents say Steppig and his co-conspirators agreed not to pursue each other's historical customers related to contracts for liquid aluminum sulfate, which is a coagulant used in the treatment of drinking and waste water as well as the manufacturing processes of pulp and paper companies.
As part of the talks among the competitors, the co-conspirators discussed prices they would quote to customers and submitted intentionally losing bids that would favor the pre-determined winner, according to the DOJ.
"Today’s result reflects the Antitrust Division’s ongoing efforts to hold accountable those who seek to corrupt the competitive process and cheat customers," said Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division. "This offense was particularly egregious, counting among its victims cities and towns throughout the Southeastern United States that relied on the conspirators’ products to provide clean water to their residents."
The DOJ says two individuals and one company have joined Steppig in pleaded guilty to charges related to the case. Steppig could receive a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act.
You can view the indictment for Steppig and one of his co-conspirators below: