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Wisconsin Company and Owners Sentenced to Jail and $1.1 Million in Fines and Restitution for Bid-Rigging On Approximately $100 Million In Highway Construction Projects

On January 13, 2005, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced that United States District Judge William Griesbach had sentenced the following defendants for their roles in a conspiracy to rig over 75 bids for federally- and statefunded construction projects awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and other entities: (1) Streu Construction Company; (2) Ernest J. Streu - the former President of Streu Construction; and (3) John Streu - the former Secretary/Treasurer of Streu Construction.

United States District Judge Griesbach sentenced Ernest Streu to 12 months’ and 1 day imprisonment and sentenced John Streu to 5 months’ imprisonment and 5 months’ home confinement with electronic monitoring for their roles in the conspiracy, which began before 1999 and continued until January 13, 2004, when these individuals - as well as James and Michael Maples of Vinton Construction Company - were arrested on federal criminal complaints. Judge Griesbach also ordered Ernest and John Streu to spend 1 year on supervised release following their prison terms, and Streu Construction was placed on probation for 5 years.

Judge Griesbach also ordered the Streu defendants to pay $500,000 in restitution to WisDOT and to pay an additional $600,000 in fines. The United States had alleged - and Judge Griesbach agreed - that $500,000 was a reasonable estimate of the amount of overcharges suffered by WisDOT as a result of contracts awarded to Streu Construction during the course of the bid-rigging conspiracy.

In March 2004, a federal grand jury had indicted the Sreu defendants, Vinton Construction, James Maples, and Michael Maples on one count of conspiring to rig bids in violation of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1. In September 2004, each of the defendants entered a guilty plea to the indictment. As part of their plea agreements, the Streu defendants acknowledged that during the course of the charged conspiracy, the firm had received over $32.9 million in contracts that had been the subject of illegal discussions with its competitors.

James Maples, Michael Maples, and Vinton Construction are scheduled to be sentenced on February 4, 2005. As part of their plea agreements, the Maples/Vinton defendants have acknowledged that Vinton Construction had received approximately $30 million in contracts that had been the subject of the conspiracy. As part of their plea agreements, the Vinton/Maples defendants also have agreed to recommend that they be ordered to pay a total of $1,400,000 in restitution and an additional $600,000 in fines.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Transportation - Office of Inspector General. The case was assigned to Assistant United States Attorneys Richard G. Frohling and Matthew L. Jacobs and Trial Attorneys Diane Lotko-Baker and Andrew Rosa of the Antitrust Division for prosecution.