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Former Sales Pro Admits to Bid Rigging Targeting US Schools

 |  May 13, 2024

Charles Ferrell Trimm, a former sales employee of a prominent manufacturer and distributor of sports equipment, has pleaded guilty to orchestrating bid rigging schemes and perpetrating wire fraud against public schools across Mississippi and beyond.

Court documents reveal that Trimm colluded with two unnamed sports equipment distributors and several other individuals to manipulate bidding processes from August 2020 to November 2022, and from May 2021 to February 2023. The schemes involved submitting coordinated bids to schools, artificially inflating prices and eliminating genuine competition. Additionally, Trimm conspired with others to commit wire fraud by submitting false bids from May 2016 to July 2023. This fraudulent activity included the unauthorized use of an individual’s identity, including forging their signature, to deceive schools and secure contracts.

Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division emphasized the detrimental impact of these criminal activities on public schools, stating, “The charged criminal schemes harmed public schools by subverting their procurement processes and providing the false appearance of competition for precious taxpayer dollars.” U.S. Attorney Todd Gee for the Southern District of Mississippi echoed these sentiments, underscoring the commitment of the Justice Department to prosecute such anti-competitive practices and uphold fairness in procurement processes.

Acting Special Agent in Charge Rebecca Day of the FBI Jackson Field Office condemned Trimm’s actions, emphasizing the fraudulent deprivation of valuable resources meant to support students. The FBI, in collaboration with its partners, remains steadfast in holding individuals like Trimm accountable for their actions.

If convicted, Trimm faces severe penalties under the Sherman Act violation, including a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $1 million criminal fine. Furthermore, he could face up to 20 years in prison, additional fines, and court-ordered restitution for the fraud charge. The sentencing decision will be made by a federal district court judge, taking into account various statutory factors and the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Source: Justice Gov