What Is The Penalty For Price Fixing In New York?
Price fixing is a serious offense in New York, and it may result in more prison time than you thought possible. The State of New York and indeed the entire nation values competition in the free market, and any sign of collusion or conspiracy to impede the function of this free market is seen as a serious problem. But how much prison time could you really face for price fixing in New York? As one group of Amazon sellers recently discovered, the consequences are nothing to scoff at.
What Is Price Fixing?
Price fixing is when competitors agree to set prices at a certain level. Although these entities should be competing with each other in a free market, price fixing allows them to mutually benefit at the cost of the consumer. In a truly competitive market, this would mean that each company is constantly trying to outdo its rivals by setting lower prices and increasing quality to the greatest extent possible. This benefits the consumer, but price fixing almost always results in higher prices with no need to maintain high levels of quality. Price fixing is therefore illegal, and those suspected of this offense may be investigated by the FBI and other federal authorities.
An Example of Price Fixing in New York
On February 13th of 2023, the Department of Justice announced that two Amazon sellers had pleaded guilty to price fixing. The agreement involved one individual in Brooklyn and another in Tennessee. Together, they conspired to fix the prices of Blu-Rays and DVDs on the Amazon platform, selling them at high and noncompetitive prices. This led to the consumer being left with no choice but to spend more on these products that they would have in a truly competitive environment. An FBI representative stated:
“As e-commerce has become a cornerstone of the economy, it is vital to protect fair and open competition in online marketplaces. Conspiring to fix prices, wherever that conduct may occur, harms competition. These guilty pleas demonstrate that the division remains committed to deterring, detecting, and prosecuting anticompetitive conduct across markets.”
These individuals are now facing up to 10 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.
Fighting Price Fixing Charges
A common strategy to fight price fixing charges is to show that there was no agreement in place. An agreement can be verbal or written, but there must be sufficient evidence of its existence for a conviction. In addition, you can show that price similarities were caused by normal market forces and not collusion.
Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in New York?
If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced New York criminal defense attorney, look no further than Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants with a wide range of criminal cases, including those related to fraud and price fixing. With our assistance, you can fight for your rights effectively and push back against needlessly excessive penalties. Reach out, book your consultation, and get started with a solid defense strategy today.