On August 30, 2021, US Department of Justice announced that Mr. David’s Flooring International LLC, a commercial flooring company based in Chicago, pleaded guilty to charges related to its participation in a scheme to suppress or eliminate commercial competition in the commercial flooring industry by conspiring to rig bids and fix prices for commercial flooring products and services and conspiring to launder funds involving kickbacks. Mr. David’s, the third corporation charged in the DOJ’s ongoing antitrust investigation, agreed to pay no less than a $1.2 million criminal fine for its role in the scheme as part of its settlement with federal prosecutors. The DOJ reports that, to date, five individuals have also been charged in connection with the scheme.
According to court documents, from approximately 2009 to 2017, Mr. David’s conspired with other companies to rig the bidding system by collectively determining in advance which conspirator-company would win a bid and which companies would then intentionally submit complementary losing bids on flooring projects. As part of the scheme, Mr. David’s also allegedly paid illegal kickbacks to Carter Brett, an account executive at a large flooring manufacturer, from 2013 until 2018 in exchange for discounted prices on flooring products, and conspired to launder the kickback funds by having payments sent to a shell corporation established by Brett in order to conceal the true nature of the payments.