KNOXVILLE, TN (WATE) — Three men have joined a Sweetwater business owner in pleading guilty to price fixing DVDs and Blu-ray Discs on the Amazon Marketplace.
According to court documents filed in Knoxville, Morris Sutton, Emmanuel Hourizadeh, and Raymond Nouvahian were charged with conspiring with others to fix prices of DVDs and Blu-rays that are sold through the marketplace. This price-fixing scheme was active from Nov. 2017 until at least Oct. 29, 2019.
Sutton, Hourizadeh and Raymond agreed to raise and maintain the prices of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs sold in their Amazon storefronts.
“As American consumers increasingly turn to e-commerce, it is critically important to deter, detect and prosecute crimes that prevent fair and open competition in online marketplaces,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “These charges demonstrate the Antitrust Division’s continued commitment to prosecuting anticompetitive conduct wherever it may occur.”
David Camp pleaded guilty in July to similar charges as part of the same scheme.
“Artificially inflating prices to avoid giving consumers a choice, for the sole purpose of benefitting those involved in the fraudulent scheme, is a violation of federal law,” said Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll of the FBI’s New York Field Office.
A criminal violation of the Sherman Act carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $1 million criminal fine for individuals.
A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The Antitrust Divisions’s Chicago Office is prosecuting the case with assistance from the FBI’s New York Field Office and USPS OIG’s Contact Fraud Investigations Division.
Anyone with information concerning price fixing or other anticompetitive conduct regarding products sold through Amazon Marketplace should contact the Antitrust Division’s Chicago Office.