Chris Lishewski reports to prison; Sentencing dates set for Cameron, Hodge, Worsham

Published on
August 20, 2020

Chris Lishewski, the former president and CEO of Bumble Bee Foods, reported to U.S. Penitentiary Tucson (Arizona) Satellite Camp on Monday, 17 August, to begin serving his 40-month sentence for price-fixing.

Lischewski was found guilty of being involved in a scheme between Bumble Bee, StarKist, and Chicken of the Sea to fix the price of canned tuna sold in the United States between 2011 and 2013. As part of his sentence, he was also ordered to pay a USD 100,000 (EUR 88,000) fine.

In at his sentencing hearing, Lischewski argued that he should not be sent to prison given the elevated danger from COVID-19 he faces due to his age. In an email, Lischewski’s wife, Louise Lischewski, said he may receive an early release due to those concerns.

“The [Bureau of Prisons] is monitoring the ongoing spread of COVID-19 throughout all of their facilities and making recommendations for home confinement as needed to curb the numbers of inmates contracting the virus and in too many cases, ending in fatality,” Louise Lischewski said in an email to SeafoodSource. “Chris’s designation to Tucson instead of [U.S. Penitentiary] Lompoc was a direct reflection of this due to the high mortality there.”

Chris Lischewski formally filed an appeal of his sentence with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, after telling SeafoodSource he would do so in a 1 July interview.

Louise Lischewski said her family and her husband’s legal team “remains confident that Chris’s appeal to the higher court(s) will be successful.”

The Lischewskis are also paying close attention to a bill being considered by the U.S. Senate that would reduce the amount of time inmates over 60 years old are required to serve of their sentences, Lischewski said. The COVID-19 Safer Detention Act could allow nonviolent offenders such as Lischewski to serve half of their original sentences.

In news related to Lischewski’s case, two of Lischewski’s former employees at Bumble Bee and a business associate from StarKist all face sentencing hearings in coming months.

Former Bumble Bee Foods executives Kenneth Worsham and Walter Scott Cameron, and former StarKist executive Stephen Hodge served as key witnesses in the U.S. government’s case against Lischewski. All three testified against Lischewski during his trial in exchange for a promise of leniency in their sentencings.

Worsham’s hearing is 28 October, Cameron’s hearing is 2 December, and Hodge’s hearing is 18 November. All three hearings will be overseen by Judge Edward M. Chen of the Northern District of California.

“I personally look forward to attending the sentencing of the three co-operating government witnesses who testified against my husband with the promise of little to no punishment for their admitted crimes," Louise Lischewski said. “Chris still remains adamant that he was innocent of the charge and wrongly convicted.”

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