Presentation on theme: "1 Understanding, Detecting & Reporting Antitrust Violations Barry Kaplan U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division Midwest Field Office 312.353-9286."— Presentation transcript:
1 Understanding, Detecting & Reporting Antitrust Violations Barry Kaplan U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division Midwest Field Office
2 What is Antitrust?
3 The Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. §1) “Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal.” Prohibits agreements among competitors in restraint of trade or commerce Price fixing, market allocation and bid rigging are all criminal violations
4 Elements of an Offense Concerted action in the restraint of trade – i.e., an agreement among competitors Between two or more independent entities Affecting interstate or foreign commerce
5 Bid Rigging Agreement in advance to manipulate outcome of bidding process Types: –Bid Suppression –Complementary Bidding –Bid Rotation
6 What do you think the penalties are for Sherman Act violations?
7 It's risky, of course---if we're caught, it could mean many hours of community service.
8 Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement Act of 2004 Increased maximum criminal penalties: –Individuals- 10 years and/or $1,000,000; –Corporations- $100 Million Alternative fine provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 3571 – Twice the gross financial loss or gain resulting from the violation where this number would exceed $100 Million.
11 NO PRESSURE Risk Management “Agencies must immediately review the risk framework... and initiate risk mitigation strategies.”
12 Evolution of Collusion Motive 12 Means 3 Opportunity 4 Agreement
13 BATTLING BID RIGGING See the Signs M arket A pplication P atterns S uspicious Behavior
14 Market: Are Conditions Conducive to Collusion?
15 Market: Are Conditions Conducive to Collusion? No readily available substitutes The product is standardized Vendors repeatedly sell to the same buyers Competitors in an industry frequently interact Bidders personally submit bids at the same physical location
16 APPLICATION: The Dumb Crook Similar applications – handwriting; typeface; stationery Last-minute changes – white-outs or physical alterations to prices Vendor picks up an extra bid package for another vendor OR submits a competing vendor’s bid
20 Paper v. Electronic Same basic fraudulent conduct Other M.A.P.S. factors to look for: –Metadata (hidden data) –Cover header info. incorrect –Same math errors, typos, etc.
21 Metadata Can be Revealing:
22 Patterns in Bids or Prices The vendors take turns as the winning bidder (bid rotation) The winner subcontracts work to losers It all evens out The same guys always win (or lose) Bids are unusually high Fewer than normal number of bidders
23 PATTERNS: Bid Rotation Bid 1: Company A wins Bid 2: Company B wins Bid 3: Company C wins Bid 4: Company A wins Bid 5: Company B wins Bid 6: Company C wins
24 PATTERNS: Bid Suppression Bid 1: Companies A, B, C, and D bid Bid 2: Companies B, C, and D bid Bid 3: Companies A, C, and D bid Bid 4: Companies A, B, and D bid Bid 5: Companies A, B, and C bid Also watch for subcontracts to the company that sits out!
25 PATTERNS: Who Is Getting What Bid 1: A wins a $3 million contract Bid 2: B wins a $5 million contract Bid 3: C wins a $1 million contract Bid 4: C wins a $4 million contract Bid 5: A wins a $2 million contract Everyone = $5 million
26 SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR: Itching to Get Caught No Chance Bidder – Bids submitted by vendor known to lack the ability to perform Betting Bidder – Vendor brings multiple bids to an opening or submits bid once other bidders are determined Loud Mouth Bidder – Suspicious statements
27 Detecting Bidding Fraud – Best Practices Examine the bid files for: –Incomplete files –Irregularities Same phrasing Same return address Same price calculations or errors
28 PARTING WORDS Remember M.A.P.S. Err on the side of reporting suspicions We are here to assist you Barry Kaplan U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division Midwest Field Office