A PYMNTS Company

US: DOJ goes after anti-competitive e-commerce

 |  April 7, 2015

The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division took action on Monday against an online art seller in what officials called the first criminal prosecution specifically targeting electronic commerce.

David Topkins, who sold posters through various websites including Amazon Marketplace, conspired with other sellers to fix the prices for certain posters and wrote an algorithm to implement the agreement, according to court documents filed in the Northern District of California. Topkins has agreed to plead guilty to felony price-fixing and pay a $20,000 criminal fine, according to the Justice Department.

The criminal information describes Topkins as a former employee of “Company A.” He was a director of the Emeryville-based online art dealer Art.com, which hired him in 2012 after it acquired his company, Consolidated Consignment Co., which was doing business as Poster Revolution. He was fired in January 2014, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In a statement, Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division called the case a “first” for the department.

“We will not tolerate anti-competitive conduct, whether it occurs in a smoke-filled room or over the Internet using complex pricing algorithms,” Baer said.


Full Content: Reuters


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