Federal fishermen from the Department of Justice reeled in a fish fit for the trophy case with the indictment of Chris “Catch-of-the-day” Lischewski, CEO of Bumble Bee Foods.
Lischewski, the 4th prosecution in an ongoing federal investigation, faces a $1m fine and up to ten years in jail for his alleged participation in a price-fixing conspiracy that has stunk up the seafood industry for years.
A whole industry of tainted tuna
Big grocers (Walmart, Kroger, and Albertsons) were the first to notice something fishy, suing Bumble Bee, Starkist, and Chicken-of-the-Sea (which control 80% of the US market) for keeping tuna prices fraudulently high in 2016.
It’s a wonder it took so long for the terrible tunas to come under the spotlight — in 2007, to “speak for the tuna industry,” the 3 companies created the Tuna Council (I dare you to find a worse front for a massive conspiracy).
It must be legit if it’s called a council
A DoJ investigation eventually accused the three can-slingers of collusion. Bumble Bee agreed to pay a $25m fine, and two Bumble Bee execs (and one from Starkist) pleaded guilty to price fixing.
The frightened fishmongers prayed the penalty would be the close of the case, but vengeful Walmart had only dipped its toes into the crystal-clear class-action waters — next, it published a fish-list of 56 tuna-schemers and an expanded list of complaints.
If it weren’t for those meddling mega-retailers, they would have gotten away with it, too.
Justice is a patient fisherwoman
Although shifty ’Schewski’s lawyer claims “vindication will restore his good name… when the truth emerges,” the slow-n-steady investigation has dredged up more details about the tuna cartel — and Lischewski’s indictment will likely not be the last.
As demand for canned tuna continues to dry up, other tuna-slingers better watch their dorsal fins — after all, the Chicken doesn’t fall far from the Sea.