Antitrust Violations - Federal Charges | Ketchel Law - Criminal Defense

Federal Attorney—Antitrust Violations

Federal Antitrust Violations—Federal Charges

Learn About Your Rights from Pennsylvania Federal Criminal Attorneys

There are areas of law that many people are not even aware that they can face criminal charges for if violated. Antitrust laws are probably not even considered by the majority of people, much less understood.

Antitrust Violations are a complex area of law that requires a level of expertise and depth of knowledge. While often prosecuted civilly, if found guilty criminally, you can face severe penalties.

Antitrust law is extremely complicated and can take a significant investment of time and money to fight. If found guilty, the economic penalties can be crippling.

If you are under investigation for an antitrust violation, or you believe you may be, it is extremely important to get a knowledgeable and experienced Pennsylvania Antitrust Violations Attorney to help you through your case.

An Arrest is Not a Conviction

As with any criminal charge, a person is innocent until proven guilty. Just because you were charged, doesn’t mean it’s all over. Far from it … anti-trust violations are fought and won in court everyday.

You will need an experienced an aggressive attorney who is licensed to practice in Federal Courts.  Not every lawyer is licensed to practice in federal court and it makes sense to have one attorney who can fight your charges in both courts—Pennsylvania and Federal.

Our experienced attorneys are both Pennsylvania Criminal Lawyers and Federal Crime Attorneys.

At Ketchel Law, we are well-versed in both state and federal court systems and can help you understand your rights and your options to fight against your charges.

If you were indicted on an antitrust violation, or are under investigation, contact Attorney Justin J. Ketchel immediately for a free case evaluation.

 

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR FEDERAL CHARGES DISMISSED.

Call 412-456-1221 for a free consultation

PITTSBURGH FEDERAL CRIME LAWYERS

 

HISTORY OF ANTITRUST LAW

A violation of antitrust law is an act that suppresses competition with anti-competitive conduct.

Antitrust policy began as early as 1887 with the Interstate Commerce Act. Through the years, it has been added to and adjusted as the marketplace has changed. However, there are three antitrust acts that are still in effect today.

They are the core of antitrust law and subsequently, the basis for any antitrust violations.

The three acts of Antitrust law include:

  • The Sherman Act of 1890;
  • The Federal Trade Commission Act;
  • The Clayton Act.

Beginning with the Sherman Act of 1890, it was the federal government’s first attempt at a “charter of economic liberty.” The Sherman Act was aimed at preserving free and unfettered competition as the rule of trade. This means that in order to keep the ideals of a capitalist economy, they felt it necessary to put laws in place to keep people from manipulating free trade.

In 1914, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act was adopted. The FTC is in charge of monitoring the competitive marketplace and enforcing antitrust rules and regulations. They work in conjunction with the US Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, in prosecuting antitrust violations.

The FTC focuses much of its efforts on segments of the economy that are highly affected by consumer spending. These include:

  • Healthcare
  • Drugs
  • Food
  • Energy
  • Technology

Last came the Clayton Act. This Act was put in place to address issues of merger and acquisition. In order to protect free trade, the government does not want any one company having the majority of the control over an area of the marketplace, otherwise known as a monopoly.

Mergers and acquisitions above a certain size must notify the FTC before pursuing their interest. Therefore, the Clayton Act sets the regulatory framework for mergers and acquisitions and other hinderances of a capitalist economy.

 

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR FEDERAL CHARGES DISMISSED.

Call 412-456-1221 for a free consultation

PITTSBURGH FEDERAL CRIME LAWYERS

 

HOW AN ANTITRUST VIOLATION IS PURSUED

When an antitrust violation is pursued, the court uses a “Rule of Reason” test to determine whether or not the act was unlawful. Their main focus is how the business decision affected the market.

If the FTC believes a violation occurred, they have several options they can choose. First, they can reach out to the company or companies, directly to enter into a consent order. This will stop the violation from occurring any further and requires the company to stop whatever practice(s) that was in violation.

If they reach out to the company but cannot come to an agreement, they have two options. They can file a complaint and begin the process of pursuing a case against the violator(s) or in some instances, they can go directly to federal court and seek injunctive relief, civil penalties or consumer redress.

The FTC cannot seek injunctive relief in all cases. Usually, the case must be fairly egregious or have a blatant negative effect on the marketplace. Most FTC investigations are not public.

Should the case require criminal sanctions, the FTC must partner with the Department of Justice or DOJ.

The DOJ has sole jurisdiction in several major areas of the marketplace including:

  • Banks;
  • Airlines;
  • Railroads;
  • Telecommunication.

The goal of enforcing antitrust laws is to prevent unlawful mergers, unfair business practices that put an unreasonable restraint on fair trade, and are harmful to competition in the marketplace.

Some of the most commonly pursued cases of antitrust involve:

  • Price fixing
  • Divide markets
  • Rigged bids
  • Boycotts
  • Exclusive dealing
  • Mergers
  • Acquisitions
  • Divestitures

PENALTIES FOR ANTITRUST VIOLATIONS

Most cases pursued by the FTC are civil in nature and are geared toward stopping whatever behavior is interfering with the function of the marketplace. However, intentional and clear antitrust violations are also prosecuted criminally by the DOJ.

Criminal penalties can include up to ten years in prison and fines up to $100 million for a corporation or up to $1 million for an individual. In addition, the maximum fine my be increased to twice the amount the conspirators gained from the illegal acts OR twice the amount lost by victims if either is over $100 million.

Some cases such as fixed prices, divide markets and rigged bids are considered “per se” violations of the Sherman Act. In these cases, there is no defense or justification allowed for the behavior.

Generally, in high stakes antitrust violation cases you can also face certain criminal charges in conjunction, each carrying its own individual penalty.

Some of the most common criminal charges in conjunction with antitrust violations include:

  • False Statements;
  • Wire or Mail Fraud;
  • Perjury;
  • Obstruction of Justice;
  • Conspiracy.

Any antitrust violation can have extremely damaging consequences for you or your business. You may be significantly impacted financially and also face the risk of jail time and a criminal record.

How Ketchel Law Can Help

We will stick with you from start to finish.

From the moment you engage Ketchel Law to represent you, we will work tirelessly to ensure every aspect of your defense is addressed at every phase. We will make certain you understand your rights and options so that you are prepared at every turn.

Facing complicated charges, and with so much at stake, you need have the highest level of representation. We understand what you are going through and will tirelessly fight on your behalf to ensure that your struggle has a minimal impact on every aspect of your life.

An aggressive and meticulous attorney will gather all evidence and facts about your case, presenting your history to make the best possible defense.

We will attempt to discredit evidence not in your favor and work closely with you to find the best course of action in defending your rights and your freedom.

Learn more about Ketchel Law:

CALL KETCHEL LAW NOW FOR A FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION AT 412-456-1221.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221

FREE CONSULTATION