Poultry execs acquitted in US price-fixing case

It's the Justice Department's third attempt to win a conviction
calendar icon 8 July 2022
clock icon 1 minute read

Three executives who worked for poultry company Pilgrim's Pride and two executives of Claxton Poultry Farms were found not guilty on Thursday of fixing prices in the poultry sector, reported Reuters.

A court official said on Thursday in an email that the five were acquitted, ending the Justice Department's third attempt to win a conviction.

Former Pilgrims Pride chief executives William Lovett and Jayson Penn, were found not guilty, as well as former Pilgrim's Pride vice president Roger Austin. Mikell Fries, president of Claxton Poultry, and Scott Brady, a Claxton vice president, were also acquitted.

The government had originally charged 10 executives with price-fixing, but dropped charges against five of them after two mistrials.

In 2020, Pilgrim's Pride Corp agreed to pay a $110.5 million fine after striking a plea deal with the Justice Department over price-fixing charges on chicken products. Pilgrim's Pride is mostly owned by Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA.

Prices of chicken wings and breasts, meanwhile, have climbed 38% and 24% since February year-on-year, respectively, according to research from Wells Fargo.

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