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Freight forwarding execs get prison time for price fixing

PortandTerminal.com, June 27, 2019

Two executives of a freight forwarding company have been sentenced to prison for fixing the prices of freight forwarding services, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

New Orleans, LA – Roberto Dip was sentenced to 18 months while Jason Handal was sentenced to 15 months for fixing the prices of freight forwarding from about 2010 to 2015, the department said. Both men had potentially faced sentences of up to 10 years in prison and fines of $1 million. Dip is president and CEO of Dip Shipping Co and Handal is a sales manager.

Roberto Dip was arrested on a warrant drafted by a New Orleans-based FBI agent accusing him of illegally plotting to increase the cost of shipping cargo from the United States to Honduras and other places.

In March 2014, Dip met with the heads of a number of other companies in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. All agreed to raise the prices they charged to U.S.-based customers who used their firms to ship cargo, court documents alleged.

Dip, Handal and others sent follow-up emails to coordinate the implementation of the agreement, imploring the companies to end “unjustified price wars.”

Emails and audio recordings detailing the alleged plot ended up in the hands of FBI agent Eric Hathaway.

Hathaway obtained a warrant June 25 to arrest both Dip and Handal – who also is based in New Orleans – as part of a wider investigation into what documents called “collusive agreements” among companies handling U.S.-Honduras cargo shipments. 

“These defendants’ conduct raised freight-forwarding prices by as much (as) 20 percent, victimizing vulnerable consumers and individuals sending gifts and household goods to family members,” said Makan Delrahim, head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, in a statement.

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