The former chief executive officer and president of Bumble Bee Foods was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison and pay a $100,000 criminal fine for playing a leading role in a three-year antitrust conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
Christopher Lischewski was charged in May 2018 in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in San Francisco. Following a four-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco in December 2019, a jury convicted Lischewski for conspiring to fix prices of canned tuna sold in the United States from around November 2010 until around December 2013.
According to evidence presented at trial, Lischewski participated in a conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna that affected over $600 million of canned tuna sales throughout the United States.
Lischewski’s sentencing is a result of the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into price-fixing in the packaged seafood industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office. “This sentence is the result of our commitment to holding corporations and senior leadership accountable for their actions, whether they operate in the food supply industry or elsewhere,” said FBI San Francisco Division Special Agent in Charge John Bennett in a press release.
In May 2017, Bumble Bee pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a $25 million criminal fine for price-fixing. In September 2019, StarKist was sentenced to pay a $100 million criminal fine for its role in the scheme. In addition to Bumble Bee and StarKist, four individuals, including Lischewski, have been charged in the investigation. The other three individuals pleaded guilty and testified in Lischewski’s trial.