Ex-Bumble Bee CEO gets 3 years for tuna price-fixing scheme

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Now he’ll be the one spending time in the can.

The former CEO of Bumble Bee Foods on Tuesday was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to fix the price of canned tuna.

Christopher Lischewski had been convicted of one felony count in the fishy scheme — which affected more than $600 million dollars of canned tuna sales, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Federal prosecutors said that, from November 2010 to December 2013, Lischewski conspired with other big fish at Bumble Bee and rivals in the industry to wipe out competition by setting the cost of packaged seafood.

He was found gill-ty following a four-week trial in late 2019.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to hand Lischewski between eight and 10 years behind bars and a $1 million fine.

But he was let off the hook a little with a sentence of 40 months in the slammer and a a $100,000 penalty.

“The sentence imposed today will serve as a significant deterrent in the C-suite and the boardroom,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

“Executives who cheat American consumers out of the benefits of competition will be brought to justice, particularly when their antitrust crimes affect the most basic necessity, food.”

Bumble Bee — which filed for bankruptcy last year — had pleaded guilty in the plot for conspiring with StarKist and Chicken of the Sea to keep prices artificially high.

The San Diego-based company was sentenced to pay a $25 million fine.

In September, StarKist Co. was sentenced to pay a statutory maximum $100 million fine.

Chicken of the Sea executives blew the whistle on the scheme in 2015, and federal investigators agreed to shield the company from criminal prosecution in exchange for cooperation.

Four execs, including Lischewski, were charged in the probe. The other three bigwigs pleaded guilty and testified in Lischewski’s trial.

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