May 18, 2022

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Justice Department investigates supply chain disruptions, targeting companies exploiting crisis to charge more fees

Justice Department investigates supply chain disruptions, targeting companies exploiting crisis to charge more fees

The Department of Justice (Department of Justice) and the FBI will investigate entities that may be exploiting Suppliers disorders caused by COVID-19 A pandemic, the administration announced Thursday.

As part of the new initiative, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division will prioritize existing investigations into entities that may be exploiting supply chain issues for illicit profit.

A sign is seen on a shelf at the CVS store in Queens, New York. (Lindsey Nicholson/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“Temporary disruptions in the supply chain should not be allowed to mask illegal behavior,” Jonathan Kanter, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, said in a statement Thursday. “The antitrust department will not allow companies to collude in order to increase the cost of consumers under the guise of supply chain disruptions.”

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Specifically, the Department of Justice and the FBI will look into companies and individuals who colluded to set prices or wages, rig bids or allocate markets, the Department of Justice said in a news release.

Both agencies will prosecute those involved in such exploitative behaviour.

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“The ongoing challenge of supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic has created an opportunity for criminals to set prices and charge customers excessive fees,” said Luis Quesada, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Division. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to cooperate and investigate schemes that violate antitrust laws and stifle our economic recovery.”

The Department of Justice has acknowledged that while companies across a variety of industries have come up with innovative ways to combat supply chain problems and price hikes caused by transportation restrictions, routine business disruptions and difficulty sourcing raw materials, some bad actors have taken advantage of these disruptions to make more money.

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The Department is asking anyone with information about price fixing, bid rigging, market allocation agreements, or any other anti-competitive behavior to contact the Antitrust Division Citizens Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258 or visit http://www.justice.gov/atr/report-violations.