Antitrust:

Information on Criminal Cases

GGD-92-21FS: Published: Dec 17, 1991. Publicly Released: Feb 4, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division's criminal enforcement of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

GAO found that: (1) 5 Antitrust Division litigation offices could not determine the processing time for 70 of 198 complaints and leads alleging antitrust violations because of missing or incomplete records; (2) there was no documentation for 74 of 117 complaints and leads that litigation offices processed; (3) the majority of the 198 complaints and leads came either directly or indirectly to DOJ from the public, and 62 percent of those allegations involved the manufacturing and service industries; (4) the primary reasons for not opening investigations on 192 antitrust complaints and leads were insufficiency of evidence, exemption of the activity from the antitrust laws, and the appropriateness of investigation by another federal or state agency; (5) of 85 criminal cases that DOJ closed, 76 resulted in the convictions of one or more defendants, 5 resulted in no convictions, and 4 resulted in the dismissal of charges; (6) of eight criminal appeal cases that DOJ closed in fiscal year 1990, three involved convictions, two involved sentences, and three involved other resolutions; (7) DOJ had no processing time criteria for the preliminary inquiry, grand jury, litigation, and appeals phases; (8) while direct labor costs varied among the investigation phases, preliminary inquiries were the least expensive and grand juries resulting in charges were the most expensive; and (9) although DOJ agreed that the data presented appeared generally accurate, it disagreed with the number of completed grand jury cases.

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