Lawmakers established antitrust laws to protect businesses from unfair competition, allowing them all the same opportunity to grow and prosper. Accusations that you are violating one or more of these laws could hurt your business, tarnish your reputation, and lead to expensive penalties. Fresno antitrust violations attorney Mike McKneely can help you fight the allegations against you and work to clear your name.
Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer offers free initial consultations to allow us to better understand your case, and to ensure we are a good fit for you. Call us today at (559) 443-7442 to learn more during a consultation with a Fresno fraud attorney.
Fresno Antitrust Violations
Federal and state antitrust laws are complex. People often violate these laws without even realizing it. If you face allegations that you violated these laws, it is a good idea to contact an antitrust attorney in Fresno to understand exactly what you are accused of doing. While antitrust laws cover a lot of ground, some of the most common allegations include:
- Price fixing
- Price discrimination
- Predatory pricing or undercutting
- Price gouging
- Bundling or tie-ins that violate federal or state laws
- Allocation of customers or certain areas
Penalties for Violating Federal and State Antitrust Laws
If the court finds you guilty of violating state or federal antitrust laws, you will likely face both criminal and civil penalties. The severity of the penalties depends on the violation, the facts of your case, and any history of similar offenses. In general:
Violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act or Clayton Act are criminal offenses. Individuals could spend several years in a federal prison and pay steep fines if investigators are able to prove a violation occurred. Fines for a company found in violation can easily reach millions of dollars.
In fact, a single violation of the Sherman Act brings the following penalties:
- Up to a maximum of $100 million for a corporation and $1 million for an individual;
- 10 years in prison;
- Both a fine and prison time
According to the United States Department of Justice, “under some circumstances, the maximum potential fine may be increased above the Sherman Act maximums to twice the gain or loss involved.”
Violations of the Sherman and Clayton acts also allow affected parties to file civil suits against you. Those harmed by your violations can sue for several times their actual losses, as well as request you pay all court costs and attorney’s fees.
This could include class actions or other mass torts. In some cases, consumers can also file claims for compensation based on violations of these laws. Civil remedies can cost a business exponentially more than the fines and related legal fees in an antitrust case.
Defiance of the Federal Trade Commission Act does not usually call for additional penalties not covered by other antitrust laws. However, the agency does have the authority to demand individuals and businesses cease anticompetitive practices immediately.
Violations of state laws, including California’s Cartwright Act, generally bring similar civil and criminal penalties to those imposed by federal laws.
California’s Antitrust Law: The Cartwright Act
California’s main antitrust law is the Cartwright Act. This act closely tracks federal laws, such as the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act that prohibit activities that hurt competition. Like the federal laws, this covers a wide variety of activities that could make it more difficult for some businesses to succeed in a given industry.
California Business and Professions Code § 16720 is more specific than the federal law, outlining a list of violations that make it clear the type of activities that violate the act.
Also like federal law, the consequences of violating this state law may come both from actions taken by the Attorney General and through civil suits filed by the harmed parties. Under California Business and Professions Code Section 16750, any individual or business that suffered losses because of the antitrust violations can file a civil suit to recover compensation for their damages. In some cases, consumers may also qualify to file a claim.
You might also face civil penalties for violating California’s unfair competition statute (Business and Professions Code § 17200). Penalties include fines of $2,500 for each violation.
As you can imagine, paying out this type of claim can get expensive very quickly, especially if you already paid steep fines related to the violation. Depending on the laws you allegedly violated, you could be on the hook for thousands or even millions of dollars.
Let a Fresno Antitrust Violations Lawyer Fight for You
If you face criminal allegations of violating federal or state antitrust laws, you need to take action quickly. This type of accusation can quickly tarnish your reputation and hurt your bottom line.
Fresno antitrust violations attorney Michael McKneely understands how serious violations of these laws can be, and the overwhelming nature of facing the possibility of both criminal and civil penalties. The team from Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer can ensure your rights remain protected and explain all possible legal remedies for your situation. We can help you understand the criminal allegations, provide emotional support, and develop a strong defense to the allegations you face.
Call Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer today at (559) 443-7442 to set up a free consultation. If you’re facing antitrust violation charges in California, preserve your legal rights by contacting us right away. Fresno criminal defense lawyer Michael McKneely has been on both sides of the criminal justice system, so he knows what to expect and how to make the process easier for you.