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MORE GUILTY PLEAS IN BID-RIG INVESTIGATIONJitney, S&P Execs in Latest Phase of Ongoing NY Anti-

Melvyn Merberg, former president of Jitney, Ltd., Queens, NY, has pleaded guilty to participating in multi-million-dollar bid-rigging, fraud and tax conspiracies, in an ongoing investigation of New York-area food distributors by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division's New York Field Office (ID April).

At ID press time, 30 individuals and 14 companies had been charged in connection with the investigation.

Pursuant to a plea agreement, a sentence of 63 to 78 months in prison and payment of more than $2.3 million in restitution will be recommended for Merberg, who was charged with and pleaded guilty to participating in four separate schemes to rig bids. These schemes involved sale of produce, dairy products, frozen vegetables, and other items to the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), Nassau County (NY) Department of General Services, Newark (NJ) Public Schools, and Odyssey House, Inc., NY, a drug rehabilitation center. Merberg also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud Odyssey House, Inc., New York, of more than $1 million in a kickback and phony billing scheme, one count of conspiring to defraud 147 other customers in a kickback and phony billing scheme, and one count of conspiring to violate various federal tax laws in connection with a multi-million-dollar check-cashing scheme.

In addition, Santi "Sandy" Trimarchi, chairperson of S&P Food Distribution, Ltd., Queens, NY, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud three not-for-profit social service customers by paying kickbacks to employees responsible for food purchasing. In addition, Trimarchi and an unnamed co-conspirator employee of one of the organizations embezzled money from that operator by issuing purchase orders and invoices for products never intended for delivery, the DOJ said.

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