A real estate investor, Mackie E. Shelton, has been resentenced to 18 months in prison in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. This comes after Shelton’s probation was revoked for retaliating against witnesses. In addition to his prison sentence, he is also required to pay a criminal fine of $171,000 and restitution of $79,000.
Shelton had previously pleaded guilty to bid rigging a farmland auction on November 29, 2022, in violation of the Sherman Act. Court documents reveal that Shelton and a co-defendant, who were both real estate investors, demanded and accepted payoffs to manipulate the outcome of an auction for farmland and timber in Allen County, Kentucky.
The crime resulted in a financial loss for the Kentucky family that was selling the property. As a consequence of his conviction, Shelton lost his professional auctioneer and real estate licenses. Initially, he received a sentence of three years of probation with 26 consecutive weekends in jail.
However, while on probation, Shelton retaliated against witnesses who had cooperated with law enforcement in the case. This led to the resentencing and an increased prison term of 18 months, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Shelton was given two days to report to prison.
The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division expressed their commitment to investigating and prosecuting antitrust crimes, stating that they will protect witnesses who cooperate with law enforcement. They emphasized that intimidating or retaliating against witnesses will not be tolerated.
The FBI, specifically the International Corruption Unit, conducted the investigation into this case. Trial Attorneys from the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal I Section, along with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky, prosecuted the case.
Any individual with information on bid rigging or other antitrust crimes targeting farmers and rural communities is encouraged to contact the Antitrust Division’s Complaint Center or visit their website for reporting violations.
– U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs