LOS ANGELES – A former contractor at a food supply company has agreed to plead guilty to a felony bid-rigging charge, admitting that he conspired with a person at another food company to determine which supplier would obtain low-bid contracts from the United States Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the Justice Department announced today.
Edgar Porras, 49, of Moreno Valley, was charged in a criminal information filed today with one count of bid rigging. In a plea agreement also filed today, Porras agreed to plead guilty to the offense.
During the scheme that ran from 2013 through August 2018, Porras conspired “to suppress and restrain competition by rigging bids to obtain selected food contracts offered by the BOP,” according to court documents. To further the scheme, Porras, who was a contractor to a food company identified as “Company A,” agreed with co-conspirators not to compete to obtain the BOP contracts, and collectively they decided which conspirator would submit the lowest – and presumably winning – bid for a contract.
Porras admitted in his plea agreement that he rigged the bidding process for approximately 111 BOP food contracts cumulatively worth approximately $1.9 million.
Porras agreed to plead guilty to violating a provision of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. The 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 of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
Porras will be directed to appear in United States District Court in Los Angeles at a later date.
The United States Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation in this matter as part of the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF).
Assistant United States Attorneys Jeff Mitchell of the Major Frauds Section and Jason Pang of International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section are prosecuting this case. The United States Attorney’s Office is a participating member of the PCSF.
In November 2019, the Department of Justice created the PCSF, a joint law enforcement effort to combat antitrust crimes and related fraudulent schemes that impact government procurement, grant and program funding at the federal, state and local levels.
In the fall of 2020, the Strike Force expanded its footprint with the launch of PCSF: Global, which is designed to deter, detect, investigate, and prosecute collusive schemes that target government spending outside of the United States.
To contact the PCSF, or to report information on market allocation, price fixing, bid rigging or other anticompetitive conduct, go to https://www.justice.gov/procurement-collusion-strike-force.