Four Plead Guilty to $100M Construction Bid Rigging, Price Fixing Scheme

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Four erosion control company owners or managers have pleaded guilty to bid rigging and price fixing on more than $100 million worth of publicly funded transportation construction projects in Oklahoma.

Stanley Mark Smith, a company owner; Roy Henry Henrich, a former owner and officer of another company; Ryan Ashley Sullivan, an owner and executive of a third company; and James Travis Feazel, a former operations manager of a fourth company, all pleaded guilty in separate hearings that took place between September 2023 and February 2024.

According to court documents, the scheme occurred between 2017 and 2023, with Smith, Heinrich, Sullivan and Feazel agreeing to raise prices and divide contracts across the state, including projects funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. They would intentionally submit sham bids or refuse to bid so that one of the conspirators would win the contracts.

Smith — whose company targeted over $42 million worth of contracts as part of the conspiracy — and Feazel — whose company targeted over $50 million worth of contracts — continued conspiring into April 2023.

Heinrich — whose company targeted over $7 million worth of contracts — was part of the conspiracy until at least July 2021, and Sullivan was part of the conspiracy until at least April 2019.

For violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act, the defendants face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. If either amount is greater than the statutory maximum fine, the fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime.

The DOT-OIG and FBI Oklahoma City Field Office investigated the case. The Antitrust Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma are prosecuting the case. A federal district court judge will determine any sentences.

“In Oklahoma and across the United States, Americans depend on transportation infrastructure as they travel to work, study, shop and visit family. Protecting fair and open competition for the public contracts that fund this infrastructure has never been more vital,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “These guilty pleas show that the Justice Department and its Procurement Collusion Strike Force partners are committed to investigating and prosecuting anyone who uses criminal schemes to target infrastructure contracts.”

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“Protecting fair and open marketplace competition is essential to protect taxpayers and to ensure consumers can trust publicly funded contracts,” added U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester for the Western District of Oklahoma. “Corporate executives who conspire to rig bids and fix prices will be held accountable.”