in a nutshell
December 6, 2022, U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJMore) is one of 11 indictments filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas indicting 12 individuals from Texas and Mexico for a violent conspiracy to monopolize the immigration industry in Texas. It was announced that the seal had been lifted.
The indictment against the individual was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI) and Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI), the primary investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The DOJ Antitrust Division is a member of the DOJ Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section (“OCGS) and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas (“USAO-SDTX”) in prosecuting the case.
- important point
- agency collaboration
- Recommended action
- The DOJ has signaled it intends to revitalize monopoly enforcement and recently launched criminal monopoly indictments for the first time in decades.
- Partnerships between investigative and prosecuting agencies in this case represent a broader effort across federal agencies to work together to investigate and prosecute antitrust violations.
Firms should review their antitrust risks and consider implementing appropriate safeguards, including an annual assessment of such risks.
On July 9, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order (“EO“) announces his administration’s commitment to increasing aggressive antitrust enforcement. recognizing. In response, a number of federal agencies are strengthening partnerships and implementing EO initiatives.
The indictment alleges that eight individuals conspired to monopolize the immigration services market in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act. A transmigrant is an individual who transports goods (often used cars) from the United States through Mexico for resale in Central America. An immigration carrier is a company that provides services to immigration clients, such as preparing customs documents and paying fees required by the Mexican government.
According to the indictment, from approximately 2013 to November 2022, defendants knowingly engaged in a combination and conspiracy to monopolize the market for immigration agency services in Texas, with the specific intention of doing so. . The defendants’ immigration carriers operated as a single entity called an “empresa” to obtain, maintain and exercise monopoly power. Defendants have used monopoly through a variety of anti-competitive practices, including detention, which are themselves unlawful under the Sherman Act, and intimidation and violence aimed at preventing market participants from undermining their conspiracies. carried out an indicted conspiracy to
The indictment also alleges that the defendants conspired to fix prices and allocate the immigration services market in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. According to the indictment, the defendants entered into price agreements to collect and distribute proceeds among their co-conspirators through arrangements called “pools.” If an immigration industry participant refuses to pay a fixed price bill, pay to a pool, or pay an extortion fee known as a “piso,” the accused individual will be harmed by the industry participant, their family, and their business. Used threats, intimidation, and violence against Associates.
The indictment also alleges that six individuals conspired to obstruct business through extortion and charges three of those individuals with one count of obstruction through extortion.The indictment also charges six individuals with money laundering related to the underlying scheme
The partnership between the Office of Antitrust, OCGS, USAO-SDTX, HSI, and the FBI in this indictment is a broader effort across federal agencies to work together and strengthen partnerships to maximize antitrust enforcement. is part of Demonstrating his EO’s whole-of-government approach to competition policy, the partnership in this prosecution demonstrates the commitment of both agencies to work together to investigate and prosecute antitrust violations. Indeed, after the opening of the indictment was announced, agency leaders commented on the importance of partnerships in investigating and prosecuting the alleged conspiracy. DOJ Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. said: USAO-SDTX U.S. Attorney Jennifer Rowley said, “We will continue to work with partners across the government to investigate and prosecute violent criminals who prey on our communities.” HSI and its law enforcement partners is committed to dismantling organized crime by eliminating its corrupt influence in our communities and protecting our borders,” said Special Agent Craig Larrabee of HSI San Antonio. says. “Today’s actions are the result of his continued cooperation with the FBI’s law enforcement partners in this important investigation.
The indictments against individuals demonstrate that DOJ continues to pursue aggressive antitrust enforcement, including enforcement of criminal monopoly, and partner with other agencies to achieve its enforcement goals. Businesses should expect greater cooperation and scrutiny of anticompetitive behavior among government agencies, even where antitrust laws have not been consistently considered by law enforcement to date. As such, companies should consider taking steps to mitigate their antitrust liability. especially:
- Companies should ensure that their antitrust compliance programs include training on proper contact with competitors.
- Companies should develop controls for communications with competitors.
- Firms should analyze the markets in which they operate to assess the level of antitrust risk associated with specific business decisions.
Companies that have not conducted an annual antitrust risk assessment and compliance review should consider doing so as soon as possible.