Three Get Jail Terms and Fines In Antitrust Conspiracy
Feb. 28, 1995
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Three men received prison terms and a company was fined $460,000 Tuesday for their roles in a conspiracy to fix prices of plastic glasses, cups and saucers in the $100 million-a-year dinnerware industry.
Andrew Liebmann of Montreal and Basem Atallah of Allentown, were each sentenced to four months in jail with an additional four months of supervised detention which would allow them to work. Each man was fined $50,000.
Polar Plastics Manufacturing Inc., where both men are vice presidents, was fined $460,000 by U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno. The company has plants in Montreal and Allentown.
In addition, James Nurmi, former vice president of Plastics Inc. of St. Paul, Minn., was given a five-month prison term, five more months of supervised home confinement and a $20,000 fine.
Plastics Inc. previously agreed to pay a $4.16 million fine and another company, Comet Products Inc. of Chelmsford, Mass., agreed to pay $4.2 million in the federal antitrust case.
``There is need for incarceration,'' said the judge. ``Any other sentence would demean the seriousness of this offense and lower the respect for the law.''
Liebmann was ordered to surrender April 28, allowing him to be with his family during the Jewish Passover holiday. Atallah will report to jail on Sept. 1 and Nurmi at the end of March.
Other defendants in the 1992 conspiracy, identified as less cooperative by the government, are to be sentenced in March. They are Robert Westbrook, president of Plastics; Warren White, vice president of Plastics; Clement Izzi, president of Comet, and Russell Greer, vice president of Comet.
Scott Hammond, a Justice Department antitrust division lawyer, outlined the case against Liebmann, Atallah and Nurmi, saying they conspired to fix prices of plastic dinnerware, but cooperated fully in the investigation.
Eric Cohen, president of Polar, told the judge that what the company and its two officials did was ``stupid and dumb. Trying to fix prices wasn't right, and we shouldn't have done it.''
The company was placed on probation for 60 months while it pays off the fine.