Executive Charged For Playing Key Role In Long-Running Antitrust Conspiracy That Illegally Limited Workers’ Career Prospects And Earnings
The U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut unsealed a criminal complaint accusing a former aerospace outsourcing executive of participating in a long-running conspiracy with managers and executives of several outsource engineering suppliers (“Suppliers”) to restrict the hiring and recruiting of engineers and other skilled laborers among their respective companies.
According to the filed documents, Mahesh Patel (“Patel”), of Glastonbury, Connecticut, a former director of global engineering services at a major aerospace engineering company, enforced this agreement while serving as an intermediary between conspiring Suppliers. Patel appeared remotely before a federal court in Hartford, Connecticut after his arrest on the complaint charging him with conspiracy in restraint of trade. He was released on conditions including travel restrictions and a $100,000 appearance bond. The charge against Patel is the first in this ongoing federal antitrust investigation.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Patel upheld a conspiracy among aerospace companies not to hire or recruit one another’s employees. At times, Patel confronted and berated Suppliers who cheated on the agreement, often at the direct behest of another Supplier, and threatened to punish nonconforming Suppliers by taking away valuable access to projects. In addition, as the complaint alleges, Patel and co-conspirators recognized the mutual financial benefit of this agreement — namely, reducing the rise in labor costs that would occur when aerospace workers were free to find new employment in a competitive environment.
The maximum penalty for conspiracy to restrain trade under the Sherman Antitrust Act is 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of $1 million for individuals. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime if either amount is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, justice.gov.