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Ex-Bumble Bee CEO Lischewski Sentenced To 40 months In Prison

 |  June 16, 2020

Former Bumble Bee Foods CEO Christopher Lischewski will serve 40 months in prison and pay a $100,000 fine after being convicted of price-fixing, San Francisco, California-based federal judge Edward Chen has ruled.

Shortly before handing down the sentence, Chen said that sending a message of “societal deterrence” factored into his consideration. He noted Lischewski’s “crime-free and laudatory life” prior to the price-fixing but said that he believes tuna prices were inflated by the conspiracy.

“This is food,” the judge said in considering his sentence. Chen added that due to its price, canned tuna is consumed by, among others, low-income consumers who would have been particularly harmed. “One has to think what are the consequences of that and who suffers?”

Lawyers for Lischewski, however, have repeatedly argued that there is no evidence that consumers were harmed by price-fixing. Attorney Elliot Peters described his client as being born to immigrant working-class parents who put himself through college.  Multiple letters to the court as part of the sentencing process spoke of Lischewski’s kindness, generosity and good works in the community.

“He really is entitled to credit for what he has done in his life,” Peters said. Speaking briefly to Chen, Lischewski said that he always provided truthful statements to the court and “always managed through cost increases and decreases honestly and ethically”.

“I do believe that the evidence we provided showed no harm was done to consumers,” Lischewski said.

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