The U.S. Justice Department reports that Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation that has a facility in Waco has pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to pay approximately $107 million in criminal fines for its participation in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chicken products.
Pilgrim’s Pride is based in Greeley, Colorado and is a major broiler chicken producer.
According to the plea agreement entered in the U.S. District Court in Denver, from as early as 2012 and continuing at least into 2017, Pilgrim’s participated in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition for sales of broiler chicken products in the United States that affected at least $361 million in Pilgrim’s sales of broiler chicken products.
The District Court accepted Pilgrim’s guilty plea and sentenced the company to pay a criminal fine of $107,923,572.
“Today’s guilty plea demonstrates our unwavering commitment to prosecuting companies that violate the nation’s antitrust laws, especially when it involves something as central to everyday life as the food we eat,” said Richard Powers, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “This guilty plea is a direct result of the tireless efforts of our dedicated career prosecutors and staff, and partners at the FBI, Commerce Office of Inspector General (OIG) and USDA OIG.”
Pilgrim’s is the first company to plead guilty for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chicken products.
Broiler chickens are chickens raised for human consumption and sold to grocers and restaurants.
Ten executives and employees at major broiler chicken producers have also previously been charged. The investigation remains ongoing.