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Washington – The United States Justice Department has announced it has brought charges against a former e-commerce executive accused of price fixing. As reported by WebProNews, the action will be the department’s first antitrust division e-commerce prosecution. The defendant, David Topkins, is facing a felony charge after allegedly fixing prices of certain art posters sold through Amazon Marketplace. The charge accuses Topkins and co-conspirators of adopting, “specific pricing algorithms for the sale of certain posters with the goal of coordinating changes to their respective prices, and wrote computer code that instructed algorithm-based software to set prices.” Price fixing is a violation of the Sherman Act and carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals. The charge was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California in San Francisco. Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division is quoted as stating of the case, “Today’s announcement represents the division’s first criminal prosecution against a conspiracy specifically targeting e-commerce. “We will not tolerate anticompetitive conduct, whether it occurs in a smoke-filled room or over the Internet using complex pricing algorithms. American consumers have the right to a free and fair marketplace online, as well as in brick and mortar businesses.” Justice News Flash delivers the latest in U.S. Legal News.
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