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Refrigeration Exec Pleads Guilty to Rigging Bids

A commercial refrigeration company and one of its top executives pleaded guilty to a bid-rigging scheme targeting Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway grocery stores in the Phoenix area.

The U.S. Justice Department said Alliance Mechanical LLC entered into a plea agreement to pay a $55,000 criminal fine; and Kendall Pope, the Phoenix-based company's president and co-owner, will be sentenced May 19 in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, according to published reports.

Between January and May 2005, the Justice Department said Pope and his company conspired with James Govostes, a former manager of an unidentified California-based commercial refrigeration company, and an unnamed corporate conspirator to rig bids on contracts to install refrigeration equipment at Safeway's stores.

Govostes pleaded guilty last June to the conspiracy charge, and last month was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City to serve four months of home confinement, 36 months probation and pay a $20,000 fine.

Safeway could not be reached for comment by press time.
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