A PYMNTS Company

Why did the Chicken Cross the Road? To Visit DOJ and Score a Leniency

 |  June 25, 2020

By: Robert Connolly (Cartel Capers)

A.      The Broiler Chicken Civil Litigation/Criminal Indictment

On June 3, 2020, a grand jury in Colorado returned an indictment charging executives from Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation and Claxton Poultry Farms with fixing prices and rigging bids nationwide for broiler chickens  [I wonder how the grand jury met? Zoom?] The case was filed in the District of Colorado, where Pilgrim’s Pride is headquartered. The individual defendants are Pilgrim’s President and CEO, Jayson Penn and former Vice President, Roger Austin. Claxton’s President, Mikell Fries, and Vice President, Scott Brady were also named in the indictment.

The DOJ Press Release [which did not use the companies’ names] stated:  “According to the indictment, from at least as early as 2012 until at least early 2017, Jayson Penn, Roger Austin, Mikell Fries, and Scott Brady conspired to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chickens across the United States.  Penn is the President and Chief Executive Officer, and Austin is a former Vice President, of a chicken supplier headquartered in Colorado [Claxton Poultry Farms. Pilgrim’s Pride].  Fries is the President and a member of the board, and Brady is a Vice President, of a broiler chicken producer headquartered in Georgia [Pilgrim’s Pride Claxton Poultry Farms].”  See also, Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2020, Chicken Industry Executives, Including Pilgrim’s Pride CEO, Indicted on Price-Fixing Charges…