The conspirators raised the prices for moving freight from the US to Puerto Rico

Four US shipping company executives will serve jail sentences for their roles in a wide-ranging conspiracy to rig bids, fix prices and allocate market shares for customers transporting goods between the US and Puerto Rico, according to the Department of Justice.

A fifth shipping executive has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence of the shipping conspiracy.

These are the first charges in the Antitrust Division’s ongoing investigation into collusion in the coastal shipping industry.

Each of the four executives has agreed to serve a jail term, pay a $20,000 criminal fine and cooperate fully in the ongoing antitrust investigation.

The pleas, fines and jail sentences are subject to court approval.

‘We are committed to prosecuting executives who violate US antitrust laws and harm consumers and competition in the United States,’ said Thomas Barnett, assistant attorney general in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division.