Guilty plea in bid-rigging conspiracy leads to $100,000 fine
Construction Benvas Inc. pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine for its role in a bid-rigging conspiracy involving an infrastructure repair project in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
In May 2008, Construction Benvas Inc. and CIV-BEC Inc., the winning bidder, signed an alleged unlawful agreement wherein Construction Benvas Inc. undertook not to submit a bid for the infrastructure repair project on Courville Street in exchange for an amount of $25,000 paid through a false purchase order. This collusion scheme enabled CIV-BEC Inc. to land the contract.
“Bid-rigging is a serious criminal offense with harmful consequences and, often, as in this case, citizens are the ones who ultimately pay the price. I’m pleased with the results obtained today and the Bureau will continue its efforts to ensure that all those involved in collusion schemes are brought to justice,” said John Pecman, Commissioner of Competition.
This is the second guilty plea in connection with a collusion scheme targeting infrastructure projects related to road construction and sewage treatment in Quebec’s Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu area between January 2008 and December 2009. The Bureau’s work continues in preparation for the trial of the main defendants, set for spring 2017.
- This plea was entered following a joint investigation by the Sûreté du Québec‘s Service des enquêtes sur la corruption, a division of the Unité permanente anticorruption (permanent anti-corruption unit), and the Competition Bureau.
- Since June 2012, the joint investigation has led to 83 criminal charges being laid against 13 individuals and 11 companies in the construction industry.
- The charges laid against Jean-Jacques Laplante, an assessor at Construction Benvas Inc., have been dropped.
- Cracking down on cartels is a top priority for the Bureau, and it will continue to vigorously pursue all those involved in cartel activities.