Chicago, Illinois - A Salt Lake City-based heir location services provider and its co-owner have been indicted for participating in a conspiracy to allocate customers with another heir location firm, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
According to the one-count felony indictment filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Kemp & Associates Inc. and its co-owner and vice president, Daniel J. Mannix, conspired with a competitor to suppress and eliminate competition by agreeing to allocate customers of heir location services sold in the United States between 1999 and 2014.
Heir location firms identify people who may be entitled to an inheritance from the estate of someone who died without a will. The heir location firms then enter into agreements with those people to help secure their inheritances in exchange for a fee.
“For over a decade, the defendants schemed to line their pockets at the expense of beneficiaries,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “These charges underscore the division’s commitment to hold heir location services executives and their companies accountable for cheating heirs whose relatives died without a will.”
With today’s charges, three executives and two companies have been charged as a result of the ongoing federal antitrust investigation into customer allocation, price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the heir location services industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Chicago Office and the FBI’s Salt Lake City Division, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Utah and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Illinois.