Montana Construction Company President Pleads Guilty to Monopolization in Criminal Sherman Act Case

The president of a construction company has pleaded guilty to violating the Sherman Act by attempting to form a market-allocation agreement with a competitor. He faces up to ten years in prison and up to $1 million in fines, according to court documents. 

The District of Montana ruling states that beginning in January 2o20, Nathan Zito made a number of calls with a competitor in the asphalt crack filling business. He proposed that his company and his competitor’s could divide the region, such that Zito’s company would have a monopoly in Montana and Wyoming while his competitor would have the same in South Dakota and Nebraska. He would additionally pay the competitor $100,000 for lost revenue. 

The companies are not named in the document.

After the first such call, the competitor executive filed a report to Federal Highway, and with the aid of the Inspector General of the US Department of Transportation, recorded this and future calls. In October 2020, this individual refused to sign on to Zito’s plan. 

The punishment for the felony of violating the Sherman act is up to ten years in prison and up to $1 million in fines. However, a report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission found only half of convicts faced prison time, with a median sentence of six months. The report further found that roughly 80% of individuals were fined, and the median amount was $20,000. 

Zito’s sentencing hearing is set for February 24, 2023.