Crime Law

In an attempt to help make trade and business competition fair for everyone, the United States enacted antitrust laws to prevent individuals and companies practicing unfair business practices. Antitrust laws include three primary elements: stops agreements and practices that can restrict free trade and competition among businesses, prohibits abusive behavior by dominate companies such as, price gouging, fixing pricing, bid rigging, and others, and supervises corporations that are merging to ensure no unfair monopolies. Any business practice that violates these laws is considered an antitrust crime.

Groups Exempt From Antitrust Laws

Labor Unions
Public Utilities
Public Transit
Public Water
Suppliers of Military Equipment

Antitrust laws were put into place to protect consumers from companies not practicing good and fair business. Fair competition allows more companies to compete in the markets and helps to keep pricing fair for everyone. Monopolies threaten antitrust laws because when a company controls the entire market or product, it can set any price it chooses because of lack of competition from other businesses. Companies and individuals who ignore the antitrust laws can be regulated civilly or criminally depending on the severity and nature of their violation and which enforcer chooses to attempt to enforce the broken law.

The Federal Trade Commission, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, private plaintiffs, and state’s attorney generals are all parties that enforce antitrust laws. Three of these enforcing agencies using civil proceedings to regulate and enforce any of these laws, with attorney generals being able to enforce both federal and state antitrust laws. The fourth agency, the Antitrust Division being the only one that can enforce criminal charges of unfair business practices under the antitrust laws. Penalties for crimes committed against the antitrust laws can range from minor fees to a maximum of 10 years in prison and $1 million in fines for individuals.

Countries around the world that have enacted fair competition laws include the United States and most of the developed countries. The World Trade Organization was enacted to help keep fair trade between countries across the globe by regulating and settling antitrust disputes. Within the Unites States own borders, antitrust matters are taken very seriously, as the U.S. works to keep business practices and competition fair. For any legal advice on antitrust crimes please do not rely on the information in this article alone, but seek out the counsel of an antitrust attorney