PHILADELPHIA - Three plastics executives were sentenced Feb. 28 to jail terms for conspiring to fix prices on injection molded dinnerware. Basem Atallah, a vice president at Polar Plastics Manufacturing Inc., received four months in jail, four months of home confinement and a $50,000 fine, said Scott Hammond, lead prosecutor for the Justice Department's antitrust case. Another Polar vice president, Andrew Liebmann of Montreal, was given four months in jail, four months in a halfway house and a $50,000 fine.
The Allentown, Pa., manufacturer of plastic dinnerware, a subsidiary of Polar Plastics Ltd., which is headquartered in Montreal, was fined $460,000, Hammond said in a March 6 telephone interview from Wash-ington.
James Nurmi, former vice president of Plastics Inc. of St. Paul, Minn., received a five-month prison term, five months in a halfway house and a $20,000 fine. Plastics Inc. is part of the Anchor Hocking Plastics unit of Newell Co. in Freeport, Ill.
According to the Morning Call of Allentown, U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno in Philadelphia, who sentenced the men,said: ``There is need for incarceration. Any other sentence would demean the seriousness of this offense and lower the respect for the law.''
The companies and executives were charged June 8 with conspiring to fix the prices of plastic tumblers, wine glasses, plates and trays between December 1991 and December 1992. Also charged was Comet Products Inc. of Chelmsford, Mass. Plastics News reported June 20 that Comet and Plastics Inc. had agreed to pay fines of $4.2 million and $4.16 million, respectively.
Hammond said Polar and its two executives were the first defendants to cooperate in the Justice Department's antitrust investigation. Nurmi came in later.
Also indicted for the price-fixing pact were Comet President Clement Izzi; Russell Greer, vice president of Comet California Cutlery Inc., a Comet Products subsidiary; Robert Westbrook, former president of Plastics Inc.; and Warren White, a former vice president of Plastics Inc. Izzi will be sentenced March 16; Greer, Westbrook and White were to be sentenced late last week, Hammond said.