Congratulations David Topkins, you are now the first person in the United States to be prosecuted for anti-trust violations specifically involving e-commerce. His reward, a $20,000 fine among other things. The Department of Justice found Topkins guilty of conspiring to illegally fix the prices of posters he sold through Amazon’s website for third-party sellers back in late 2013 through early 2014.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division on Monday announced its first prosecution specifically targeting Internet commerce, saying a man has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to illegally fix the prices of posters he sold online. David Topkins was accused of conspiring with other poster sellers to manipulate prices on Amazon.com’s Amazon Marketplace, a website for third-party sellers, from September 2013 to January 2014, according to papers filed in San Francisco federal court. The Justice Department said Topkins also agreed to pay a $20,000 criminal fine and cooperate with its probe. His plea agreement requires court approval. Contact information for Topkins’ lawyer was not immediately available. No one answered a phone call to a David Topkins listed in San Francisco. Topkins was accused of conspiring with other poster sellers to use algorithms, for which he wrote computer code, to coordinate price changes, and then share information about poster prices and sales.