DENVER — A federal grand jury in Denver returned a superseding indictment against Timothy Stiller, a former general manager of Fresh Food Services and Small Bird Debone, for two counts of witness tampering and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges that Stiller, along with Jason McGuire, a former executive vice president at Pilgrim’s, Wesley “Scott” Tucker, a former national accounts sales executive; and Justin Gay, a former director of Fresh Foodservice Sales, participated in an eight-year, price-fixing and bid-rigging conspiracy in the broiler chicken industry in violation of federal antitrust laws. The men face fines and up to 10 years in prison if convicted of price-fixing/bid-rigging.
Stiller faces at least 20 years in prison on the witness tampering and obstruction charges. The superseding indictment states that in or around January 2018 Stiller “directed and suggested” that a witness identified as “R.B.” review and withhold documents collected in connection with federal civil antitrust litigation in US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
The DOJ also alleges that in April 2021, Stiller told R.B. to “get his story straight” and to “own” a 2017 contract negotiation when “R.B. spoke with attorneys from the United States Department of Justice concerning the conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by rigging bids and fixing prices and other price-related terms for broiler chicken products sold in the United States, when in truth and fact, Stiller was also responsible for the 2017 contract negotiation,” the indictment said.
Finally, the DOJ alleges that at some point between June 2018 and February 2019, Stiller attempted to “… alter, destroy, mutilate, conceal, and cover up a record, document, or other object; to wit: one or more phones” in his possession, with the intent to obstruct the Northern District of Illinois federal civil antitrust proceedings and a federal grand jury investigation into the price-fixing/bid-rigging charges in the US District Court-District of Colorado case by placing the phones in water.
Earlier this month, a jury found five poultry industry executives not guilty on charges of fixing prices for broiler chickens. The verdict came after two previous proceedings ended in mistrials. At a third trial in US District Court in Denver, a jury acquitted Jayson Penn, former chief executive officer of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.; Bill Lovette, former president and CEO of Pilgrim’s, who was succeeded by Penn; Roger Austin, Pilgrim’s; and Mikell Fries and Scott Brady, both employed at Claxton Poultry.