The government said an Amazon seller entered into and engaged in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing prices of DVDs and Blu-Ray Disks sold through Amazon.
A Tennessee seller who was the first to be charged to the alleged conspiracy that began as early as May 2018 until at least October 29, 2019, pleaded guilty to the charges on Friday.
No other Amazon sellers were named in Friday’s announcement.
The government said the Amazon sellers had agreed to raise and maintain particular pricing for DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs; agreed to monitor and exchange pricing with one another and others; and agreed to establish floor pricing.
The Department of Justice referred to the case as an “ongoing investigation,” and it included strong admonitions in its announcement, including the following excerpts:
“Activities related to collusion, bid rigging and market allocation do not promote an environment conducive to open competition, which harms the consumer,” said Acting Executive Special Agent in Charge Steven Stuller of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Office of Inspector General.
“By their actions, the defendant and his co-conspirators denied purchasers of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs free and open competition, and instead lined their own pockets,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.
The Antitrust Division’s Chicago Office is prosecuting the case, which was investigated with the assistance of the FBI’s New York Field Office and the USPS Office of Inspector General’s Great Lakes Regional Investigations Office in Chicago.
The government said a criminal violation of the Sherman Act carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $1 million criminal fine for individuals. See the full press release on the DOJ website at Justice.gov.