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Sports Equipment Scandal Impacts At Least 100 Schools

The actions “deprived public schools of valuable resources to support students.”

A former salesman at a manufacturer and distributor of football helmets and other sports equipment is facing prison time and a seven-figure fine after conspiring to rig bids for sports equipment contracts. According to a Department of Justice release detailing an FBI investigation, at least 100 schools in Mississippi and other locations were victims of the schemes.

Leading the operation was Charles Ferrell Trimm, who pleaded guilty to two conspiracies to violate the Sherman Act and one conspiracy to commit wire fraud. 

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The bid-rigging took place from August 2020 to November 2022 and May 2021 to February 2023. During these periods, Trimm, two unnamed sports equipment distributors and other individuals collaborated to send complementary bids to the schools in an attempt to secure contracts. Additionally, from May 2016 to July 2023, Trimm and his cohorts submitted fake bids to the schools that featured an unidentified individual’s forged signature.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Todd Gee explained that the rigged bids sought to affect the prices schools would pay for the sports equipment. FBI agent Rebecca Day said the actions “deprived public schools of valuable resources to support students.”

The DOJ release did not mention values for any of the contracts.

Trimm now faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $1 million criminal fine for his Sherman Act violation. According to the release, the fine could be raised to twice the profit related to the crime or twice the loss that the victims suffered. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, a fine and court-ordered restitution.

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