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More execs charged in DOJ chicken industry probe

More execs charged in DOJ chicken industry probe
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Six additional executives of chicken producers were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver for conspiring to fix prices, the Department of Justices announced Wednesday.

The charges are the latest in the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into price fixing in the industry. Four executives were charged in June for their role in the alleged scheme. 

The indictment alleges that all 10 executives conspired to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chicken products from 2012 to early 2019. 

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Among the defendants in the new indictment were William Lovette, former CEO of Pilgrim’s Pride, as well Pilgrim’s Pride executives William Kantola and Jimmie Little. Little faces one additional charge for making false statements to federal law enforcement and one count of obstruction of justice. 

Other executives charged include former industry executives Timothy Mulrenin, Gary Roberts and Rickie Blake.  

The executives face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Little could see an additional 20 years in prison for an obstruction of justice charge, and another five years in prison for a false statements charge. Both charges carry a maximum $250,000 fine.

Pilgrim’s Pride current chief executive Jayson Penn and former Vice President Roger Austin, were charged in June, as well as Georgia-based company Claxton Poultry Farms’s president, Mikell Fries, and vice president, Scott Brady.