March 22, 2023

Healthcare Staffing Exec Accused of Fixing Nurse Wages Has Been Indicted By DOJ

Healthcare Staffing  Exec Accused of Fixing Nurse Wages Has Been Indicted By DOJ

Source: Facebook

In Las Vegas, Nevada, a former healthcare staffing executive has been indicted for allegedly conspiring to “fix” nurses’ pay. 

According to a press release from the Department of Justice (DOJ), the federal grand jury indictment alleges that Eduardo Lopez and other co-conspirators participated in communication and meetings between March 2016 and May 2019 that were intended to “suppress and eliminate” competition and control wages of nurses and other healthcare workers. 

“Wage fixing is a crime that deprives workers of hard-earned wages,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  

>> Click to See the Top Online MSN Programs

The Healthcare Executive’s Alleged Role in Wage Fixing

At this time, few details of the investigation have been released to the public. 

Local news station CBS Channel 8 (KLAS) reported that other unnamed co-conspirators are being charged in connection with the indictment. Another Las Vegas news outlet, Fox Channel 5, reported that Lopez worked for three different home health companies during the time of the allegations. 

He reportedly oversaw the recruitment, hiring, assignments, and retention of nurses and other healthcare staff at each company. The news articles do not mention the names of the companies Lopez worked for.

Source: Twitter

Violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act

Lopez is facing one felony count for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. 

The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 is a federal statute prohibiting activities restricting commerce and competition in the marketplace. It bans businesses from colluding to form monopolies. Wage-fixing constitutes a form of price-fixing, which is illegal under the Sherman Act.

The maximum penalty for violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act is ten years in prison for each offense. A violation also carries a fine of up to $1 million for individuals and $100 million for corporations. In some cases, the statutory maximum may be increased up to twice the amount of money gained from the crime or suffered as loss by the victims.

The Department of Justice prosecutes anti-competitive conduct that affects the American labor markets to protect workers’ rights to earn fair wages.

An indictment alleges that crimes have been committed. However, defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Lopez’s next hearing has been set for Tuesday, March 28.

Similar Antitrust and Wage-Fixing Prosecution

In a similar case last spring, the District of Nevada prosecuted a healthcare staffing company VDA, formerly Advantage On Call LLC, for entering into an agreement with a competitor to fix the wages of nurses working in a Nevada school district. The staffing company pleaded guilty and agreed to fines and restitution totaling $134,000.

An article published by law firm Hinckley Allen suggests that this case was indicative of an aggressive antitrust push by the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, which would likely continue prosecuting cases of any attempt by employers to fix or limit employee wages. 

Two other wage-fixing cases were dismissed in late 2022.

In December 2022, the DOJ Antitrust Division and the Office of the Inspector General signed a memo strengthening their partnership to protect healthcare consumers and workers from collusion and promote competitive healthcare markets.

Source: Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney General for the District of Nevada Jason M. Frierson recently told ABC Channel 13 (KTNV), “We will continue to partner with the Antitrust Division and the FBI to protect the marketplace and the rights of workers from earning fair wages and prosecuting those who engage in anti-competitive activities.”

Fair Wages for Healthcare Workers

This case highlights the importance of fair wages for nurses and the impact of anti-competitive practices on the labor market. 

Wage fixing hurts nurses by preventing them from earning a fair wage. Nursing professionals can't negotiate for better wages when employers collude to control wages and suppress competition. This leads to reduced financial stability, which negatively impacts their personal and professional lives. 

In addition, artificially low wages can make it difficult for healthcare organizations to attract and retain talented nurses, resulting in a decrease in patient care quality. Ultimately, wage fixing harms nurses, the healthcare system, and patients.

Nurses are critical to the healthcare system and deserve fair compensation for their dedication and hard work. 

Yet according to the 2023 Healthcare Experience Trends Report from Qualtrics, only half (52%) of healthcare workers believed they are paid fairly. That is the lowest score of any industry in the study. 

Nurses can advocate for fair wages by staying informed, communicating with policymakers, and participating in professional organizations. 

Where to Find More Information

The DOJ’s Antitrust Division encourages people with information on price fixing by employers to contact the DOJ Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258. You can also visit


Go to the top of page