An account executive for a large flooring manufacturer has been charged with conspiring to rig bids and fix prices for commercial flooring products and services in the Chicago area, the Department of Justice announced.
The flooring executive, Carter Brett, was also charged with having a role in a money laundering conspiracy, which allegedly involved kickbacks from co-conspirators in exchange for offering unlawfully low pricing, according to the DOJ.
“The bid-rigging and money laundering schemes charged today cheated a state-funded school out of competitive bids and lined the defendant’s pockets with kickbacks,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement Feb. 5. “This latest charge in the ongoing investigation demonstrates the Antitrust Division’s commitment to bringing to justice those in the commercial flooring industry who have victimized Chicago-area schools, hospitals, charities, and businesses.”
Brett carried out the bid-rigging conspiracy from as early as 2013 to as late as June 22, 2017, according to the bid rigging conspiracy charge.
The money laundering conspiracy charge alleges he established a shell corporation for the purpose of receiving kickback payments.
The charges against Brett are part of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into bid rigging and price fixing in the commercial flooring industry. In April 2019, the DOJ also announced bid rigging charges against Chicago-based commercial flooring contractor Michael Gannon.