Plea agreement indicates Bumble Bee exec Walter Scott Cameron will get reduced jail time

Published on
February 2, 2017

A plea agreement between federal authorities and Walter Scott Cameron will allow the former Bumble Bee Foods senior vice president of sales to escape the maximum penalties possible after he pled guilty to fixing prices of canned tuna sold in the United States between 2011 and 2013.

Cameron faced penalties of up to 10 years in jail and a USD 1 million (EUR 925,000) fine, but will instead serve a reduced or suspended sentence and a USD 25,000 (EUR 23,100) fine in exchange for aiding the ongoing investigation into alleged price fixing of tuna products sold by Bumble Bee, Dongwan Enterprise-owned StarKist and Tri-Union Seafoods, the owner of Chicken of the Sea.

The agreement, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco on 25 January, 2017, was originally signed 7 November, 2016.

Prosecutors have agreed to reduce the penalties Cameron will face, “because of the defendant's substantial assistance in the government's investigation and prosecutions of violations of federal criminal law in the packaged-seafood industry,” according to the agreement.

The agreement stipulates that Cameron will testify if the investigation results in a grand jury, trial or any other judicial proceeding. He will not be sentenced until prosecutors deem his cooperation is complete, and may opt to terminate the terms of the plea agreement at any time.

“Bumble Bee continues to fully cooperate with the Department of Justice in regards to its ongoing investigation into the packaged seafood industry,” Jill Irvin, Bumble Bee’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel, previously said in a statement to SeafoodSource. “Scott [Cameron] has also cooperated with the Company and with the Department of Justice in the investigation. The Company is hopeful that it can reach a resolution with DOJ on this matter, as it relates to the Company, in early 2017. Because the investigation is ongoing, we cannot provide any additional information or comments on this matter at this time.”

A second Bumble Bee executive, senior vice president of trade marketing Kenneth Worsham, has also pled guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy and is also cooperating with the investigation, according to a separate court filing.

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