Tag Archives: Carlos Rafael

The Codfather is Finally In Jail. But Who Is He?

Until his downfall this year, Carlos Rafael, the 65-year-old fishing magnate from New Bedford, Massachusetts owned 36 boats and controlled about one-fifth of the New England cod market. With a business allegedly worth upwards of $100 million, which included a processing facility and various distribution channels, Rafael was one of the biggest players in the North American fish market. ,,, “I hustled a lot of fisherman,” he once admitted. “But shame on them they did not know better.” ,,, “I am a pirate,” he once told a group of federal fisheries regulators. “It’s your job to catch me.” click here to read the story 23:01

‘The Codfather’ expected to report to prison today

A New Bedford fishing magnate who pleaded guilty to multiple charges is expected to report to prison Monday to begin his sentence. Carlos Rafael — also known as “The Codfather” — will serve about four years on charges of smuggling, falsifying documents and evading fishing quotas. He’ll also have to serve three years’ probation and pay fines of up to $200,000. link 10:03

Feds intend to appeal forfeiture deal in Codfather case

Federal prosecutors are not going quietly in their quest to exact far more assets from convicted fishing mogul Carlos Rafael. The U.S. Attorney’s office on Wednesday filed a motion of its intent to appeal the court-ordered plan to seize only four of Rafael’s vessels and their accompanying 34 permits instead of the 13 vessels and accompanying permits sought in the forfeiture plan developed by prosecutors. click here to read the story 16:09

Sheriff’s captain accused of helping ‘Codfather’ smuggle cash

A Captain with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in connection with helping Carlos Rafael, the owner of one of the largest commercial fishing businesses in the U.S., smuggle the profits of his illegal overfishing scheme to Portugal. Jamie Melo, 45, of North Dartmouth, Mass., was indicted on one count each of bulk cash smuggling, structuring and conspiracy. In August 2017, Melo was arrested and charged in a criminal complaint. click here to read the story 10:46

Judge denies feds’ motion for Carlos Rafael to forfeit more vessels, permits

Judge William Young didn’t waste any time denying the United States’ motion for reconsideration in the case of Carlos Rafael. The government filed the reconsideration on Wednesday, the same day Young filed his judgement. The government sought Young to reconsider the forfeitability of Rafael’s vessels and permits. Young ordered four vessels and the accompanying permits to be forfeited on Oct. 11. U.S. Marshals seized the vessels the Lady Patricia, Olivia & Rafaela and the Southern Crusader II on Oct. 18. The reconsideration stated, “the court may correct a sentence that resulted from arithmetical, technical or other clerical error” within 14 days. click here to read the story 19:13

Vessels Seized – Feds stake claim on 4 of Carlos Rafael’s boats

The government staked its claim to four of Carlos Rafael’s vessels on Wednesday. U.S. Marshals and agents from the Coast Guard Investigative Service boarded the Lady Patricia by Leonard’s Wharf, Olivia & Rafaela and the Southern Crusader II beyond Homer’s Wharf around noon. The fourth vessel, the Bull Dog, was seized at another port. The U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday the seized vessels will brought to an “undisclosed location.” For more than an hour after arriving, agents allowed anyone with personal property on the vessels to remove it. click here to read the story 08:25

NOAA has yet to determine fines and penalties in civil case involving Carlos Rafael

So far, New Bedford fishing mogul Carlos Rafael has lost a fraction of his fishing empire after pleading guilty to 23 counts of false labeling and identification of fish, as well as cash smuggling, conspiracy, falsifying federal records and tax evasion. He was found guilty and sentenced to nearly four years in jail last month. But there could be millions more in fines and penalties as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration decides what civil measures to impose on Rafael. Fishermen and environmental groups have been lobbying for that money to go toward restoring the fishery, and many would like to see it pay for better monitoring of what fishermen catch at sea and land on shore. click here to read the story 12:47

Civil penalities from NOAA could be next for Carlos Rafael

Judge William Young’s judgment filed Wednesday appeared to be the finish line to Carlos Rafael’s case. Young, though, by ordering the forfeiture of four vessels and every permit associated with the Bull Dog, the Olivia and Rafaela, the Lady Patricia and the Southern Crusader II began a new ripple effect throughout the commercial fishing industry revealing some questions but very little answers. It’s likely NOAA will take center stage now that the Department of Justice has closed its case. NOAA can bring civil penalties to Rafael. click here to read the story 09:47

BREAKING: Judge orders Carlos Rafael to forfeit 34 permits and 4 boats

Carlos Rafael must forfeit four fishing vessels with an appraised value of $2.2 million and 34 permits as ordered by District Judge William Young on Wednesday. In a 16-page Memorandum and Order Concerning Forfeiture, Young described the methods he used in determining forfeiture, which includes the “Bulldog” along with eight permits, the “Olivia and Rafaela” with its 11 permits, the “Lady Patricia” and its four permits and the “Southern Crusader II” and its 11 permits. click here to read the story 14:23

Codfather must forfeit 4 vessels, 34 permits – Young said he refrained from adding the 88-foot Athena and the 81-foot Hera II to the list of forfeited vessels because the two boats “have scalloping permits and scalloping is not involved in this wrongdoing.” click here to read the story 

Senator Warren: New Bedford should keep Rafael’s fishing permits

And another voice enters the fray. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has weighed in on the debate over the ultimate fate of Carlos Rafael’s seized commercial fishing permits, saying in a letter to NOAA Fisheries the permits should remain in New Bedford. “It has been reported that (Rafael’s) fishing permits may be cancelled or seized by the federal government and I am urging you to do everything possible to ensure that those permits stay in the port of New Bedford,” Warren wrote to Chris Oliver, NOAA Fisheries’ assistant administrator for fisheries. “Not doing so has the potential to devastate the local economy and effectively punish numerous innocent workers and businesses in New Bedford for Mr. Rafael’s crimes.” click here to read the story 18:57

Canastra Brothers Offering $93 Million for ‘Codfather’s’ Fishing Fleet

One of the owners of the Whaling City Seafood Display Auction in New Bedford is shedding more light on a proposed deal to buy the “codfather’s” fishing fleet. Carlos Rafael has been sentenced to 46 months in prison for his illegal fishing scheme, and cannot be involved in the fishing industry during that time and three years after his release. In an exclusive interview with WBSM’s Phil Paleologos, Richard Canastra confirms he and his brother, Ray, have entered into a memorandum of agreement with Rafael to buy his business, Carlos Seafood, Inc, for $93 million. Video, click here to read the story 16:41

Deal between Rafael, Canastra brothers worth $93M, still needs government OK – While the Canastras and Rafael have agreed, the deal isn’t complete. NOAA and the U.S. Attorney haven’t taken a final position on the proposed sale, according to court documents click here to read the story21:03

Our view: ‘Codfather’ case highlights failings of regulatory system

Rafael, the 65-year-old New Bedford-based fishing magnate, admitted to a judge earlier this year that he had lied to federal fishing regulators about the nature and size of his groundfish landings and bulk smuggling. At sentencing last week, U.S. District Judge William G. Young rejected the argument from the man who liked to call himself “The Codfather” that the fraud was necessary to protect the jobs of his workers. “This was stupid,” Young told Rafael. “This was a corrupt course of action from start to finish. It’s a course of action of extensive corruption designed to benefit you, to line your pockets. That’s what it is and that’s why the court has sentenced you as it has.” Good for Young for handing down a stiff sentence (Rafael was seeking probation). The Codfather’s story, however, does not end here. His arrest and prosecution laid bare a broken regulatory and monitoring system. click here to read the op-ed 09:37

Constitutionality of seizing Carlos Rafael’s permits in question

Judge William Young decided half of Carlos Rafael’s fate on Monday: The New Bedford fishing mogul was sentenced to 46-months in prison with three years supervised release and a $200,000 fine. The other half, which Young continues to take under advisement, involves the 65-year-old’s 13 groundfish vessels and permits. In court Monday, Young repeatedly questioned the constitutionality of the forfeiture, citing the excessive fines clause in the Eighth Amendment. “I have grave doubts given the value of the vessels and permits,” Young said. ”…That the appraised value doesn’t exceed four times a maximum guidelines fine.” click here to read the story 08:41

“This is the stupidest thing I ever did,” ‘Codfather’ is sentenced to 46 months for skirting tax and fishing regulations

Carlos Rafael, the New Bedford, Mass. fishing magnate whose brash business style earned him the nickname “The Codfather,” was sentenced to nearly four years in prison Monday for tax evasion and flouting fishing quotas, a case that could impact the ability of hundreds of fishermen to continue working out of the port where he ran his illicit enterprise. In the federal courthouse in Boston, Rafael, 65, told US District Judge William G. Young he mislabeled more than 700,000 pounds of fish not out of greed, but to protect workers whose jobs were threatened by limits on dwindling cod stocks. click here to read the story 15:04

And just four years ago, we posted this article that should be revisited at this time. Carlos Rafael and His Fish Are the American Dreamclick here to read the story.

Owner of One of the Nation’s Largest Commercial Fishing Businesses Sentenced for Falsifying Records & Smuggling Proceeds Abroad, US Justice Dept. click here to read the presser

Headed for the Slammer! – Carlos Rafael sentenced to 46 months in prison

Judge William Young sentenced Carlos Rafael to a 46-month prison term, but he held off on a decision regarding the forfeiture of any permits or vessels. Rafael also received three years supervised release. His attorney William Kettlewell requested the sentence be served at Fort Devens. Rafael will have credit for the time he spent in jail earlier in his life, which equated to about nine days. He’ll also pay a $200,000 fine. click here to read the story 17:08 There will be updates to this story

Codfather gets nearly 4 yearsclick here to read the story 18:05

Day’s of Reckoning – Feds seek prison time for Carlos Rafael; sentencing Monday, Tuesday

More than a year and half after “The Codfather” was arrested, the fate of Carlos Rafael and 13 of his fishing permits will be decided Monday and Tuesday. In March, Rafael, 65, pleaded guilty to falsifying fishing quota, bulk cash smuggling and tax evasion. His sentencing was originally scheduled for June 27. A few delays later, the case is set to wrap up Monday and Tuesday in front of Judge William Young in U.S. District Court in Boston. The government and the defense each filed to the court Wednesday their recommendation for Rafael’s sentencing. Here’s a summary of the nearly 70 pages of documents. click here to read the story 07:51

‘The Codfather’ case puts federal fishing regulations to the test – For 30 years, Carlos Rafael, better known in New England fishing circles as “the Codfather,” has brazenly billed himself as the industry’s most successful outlaw. click here to read the story 13:19

Unconstitutional? Carlos Rafael argues against vessel forfeiture, poses new buyer for fleet

New Bedford, Massachusetts-based fishing magnate Carlos “Codfather” Rafael has challenged the government’s proposal to seize his fleet of 13 groundfish vessels, arguing that the act is unconstitutional, according to court documents filed by his legal team. Forfeiting the vessels and their corresponding permits, which are allegedly worth more than USD 30 million (EUR 25 million), would be a violation of the excessive fines clause of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Rafael’s lawyers said in court documents submitted for review to U.S. District Court judge William Young in Boston. click here to read the story 15:22

Local buyer for Carlos Rafael’s fishing permits, court documents say – Two prominent businesses in New Bedford possess the means to acquire the permits based on financial means and ability to operate a fleet of that size: Whaling City Seafood Display Auction and Eastern Fisheries. Neither returned requests for comment. click here to read the story 9/21, 16:09

Hang him! Hang him high!

OK, OK, I get it! Carlos Rafael, aka, “The Codfather,” has done some pretty reprehensible things while amassing what seemingly is the largest percentage of ownership of the US multispecies groundfish fleet. I am not going to try to defend his actions, or his reasoning, but I would like to point out that there is plenty of guilt to go around and some people should not be so quick to point their finger at him alone. What is it that they say about casting the first stone? Apparently, among his sins is his aforementioned ownership of the largest fleet of multi-species groundfish vessels, as well as some scallop vessels. While this may be true, let us ponder what enabled, abetted, and allowed him to gain such an advantage over everyone else. At this point, he wasn’t breaking the law, he was only taking advantage of it, and of those who most fervently wanted it! click here to read the op-ed 09:27

Conservation Law Foundation submits victim impact statement in Carlos Rafael case

Within the past 10 days, the Conservation Law Foundation sent three letters to various individuals involved — either directly or indirectly — with the Carlos Rafael case. The foundation doesn’t represent any party directly, but its goal is to “use the law, science and the market to create solutions that preserve our natural resources, build healthy communities, and sustain a vibrant economy,” according to its website. CLF sees Rafael’s guilty plea in March to illegal fishing as infringing on its principles. click here to read the story 21:18

Bristol County Sheriff’s Dept. captain charged with smuggling in Rafael case

A captain with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office was arrested and charged late Wednesday in connection with helping Carlos Rafael, the owner of one of the largest commercial fishing businesses in the U.S., smuggle the profits of his illegal overfishing scheme to Portugal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. James Melo, 45, of Dartmouth, was charged with one count each of bulk cash smuggling, structuring and conspiracy. He was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond following his appearance in federal court in Boston late this afternoon, authorities said in a news release. click here to read the story 10:37

Carlos Rafael’s wife petitions for right to claim vessels

Two parties, including Carlos Rafael’s wife, filed petitions in district court claiming they possess rights to the property listed in the preliminary order of forfeiture, according to court documents submitted Monday. Conceicao Rafael, who is married to Carlos Rafael, laid out in 45 pages her “rights to certain property” listed in the preliminary order of forfeiture. In seven more pages, Joao Camara laid out his argument to the rights to Southern Crusader II, one of the 13 vessels listed in the preliminary order of forfeiture. Camara claims ownership through a company named R and C Fishing Corp. Both Conceicao and Camara, through their attorneys, argued the assets aren’t subject to forfeiture because “at the time of any illegal act” by the defendant neither was “privy to any illegal act.” click here to read the story 07:57

Rep. William Straus request reveals NOAA has yet to penalize Rafael

Through a public records request, Rep. William Straus said he discovered that NOAA hasn’t disciplined Carlos Rafael since the indictment has been released. That included an incident on Aug. 5, 2016, which occurred after the indictment, where public records also show that the Coast Guard cited the Lady Patricia, a Rafael vessel listed in the indictment, for “fishing without proper VMS designation.” NOAA defines its Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) as a system supporting law enforcement initiatives and preventing violations of laws and regulations. It is used as evidence in the prosecution of environmental laws and regulations including regional fishing quotas, the Endangered Species Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. click here to read the story 21:40

Mass delegation supports putting Carlos Rafael’s forfeiture toward electronic monitoring

John Bullard wants to arm fishing vessels with a smartphone — figuratively speaking. “Nobody has rotary phones anymore, we just assume smartphones are the way we communicate and all the benefits of smartphones we’ve come to expect as normal,” Bullard said. ”(Electronic monitoring) is what we’re going to transition to, but it’s going to take time.” NOAA’s Northeast Regional director said he believes current methods can lead to inaccurate science. Last week, NOAA conducted a fishing stock assessment meeting in New Bedford where similar concerns of bad science emerged. The root of the concern was data from false reports. Electronic monitoring, specifically cameras on vessels, would provide accurate information. click here to read the story 21:39

Carlos Rafael files a motion of opposition to forfeiture

Carlos Rafael filed a court motion Monday opposing the government’s motion for preliminary order of forfeiture. The New Bedford fishing heavyweight made the request in light of “ongoing discussions” regarding the vessels and permits associated with the guilty plea he made four and half months ago. Rafael pleaded guilty to falsifying labels and fish identification, cash smuggling and tax evasion on March 30. In the plea agreement, Rafael admitted the vessels listed in the indictment were subject to forfeiture. The agreement reserved Rafael the right to challenge the forfeitures. Rafael took advantage of that right,,, click here to read the story 20:49

Despite guilty plea, ‘Codfather’ continues to fish

New England fishermen are wondering how the fishing fleet owned by New Bedford fishing mogul Carlos Rafael continues to fish nearly five months after he pleaded guilty on March 30 in federal district court in Boston to 28 offenses, including conspiracy, false labeling of fish, bulk cash smuggling, tax evasion and falsifying federal records. Those vessels include many Rafael agreed to forfeit in his plea deal for their role in his scheme to sell fish he didn’t have enough quota to catch, under the name of species for which he had enough quota. The fishing year starts May 1 and Rafael won’t be sentenced until Sep. 25 and 26. Many are angry that Rafael’s fleet has been allowed to operate through the summer months when fishermen traditionally catch most of their fish. click here to read the story 09:51

What’s next for the ‘Codfather’?

The “Codfather” quashed any hopes for high courtroom drama when he pleaded guilty in March to falsifying fish quotas, false labeling of fish species, conspiracy and tax evasion, 28 counts in all. The real action is behind the scenes, as federal and defense attorneys wrestle over the fate of New Bedford fishing mogul Carlos Rafael’s fishing empire, said to be one of the largest groundfish fleets in the nation. It’s something Cape fishermen, and fishermen all over New England, are debating and watching closely. click here to read the story 08:36

Carlos “The Codfather” Rafael sentencing delayed

The New Bedford fishing mogul known as “The Codfather” has been granted a new two-month delay prior to his sentencing on federal charges of conspiracy, falsifying fish quotas, and tax evasion. Carlos Rafael, 65, was slated to face sentencing Friday, and could face up to 76 months in prison on the three charges through plea agreement reached with the U.S. attorney’s office March 30. Federal prosecutors have recommended a prison term of 46 months and an extended time after that of supervised release, but U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young is not bound to abide by that recommendation. All of those terms are far less than the 20 years he could have faced under an original 27-count indictment. Young, however, granted a motion on July 11 that had been filed by Rafael’s attorney, William H. Kettlewell, asking for more time to resolve what Kettlewell called “a critical component of the overall resolution of this case.” Young and the U.S. attorney’s office agreed to set a new sentencing date for Sept. 25 at 2 p.m., according to spokeswoman Liz McCarthy. click here to read the story 16:50

Deputy sheriff convicted of ‘Codfather’ cash smuggling

A former Bay State sheriff’s deputy has been convicted in a cash-smuggling scheme connected to a New Bedford fishing mogul known as “The Codfather” during which he took thousands in profits from overfishing and deposited them into a Portuguese bank. Antonio Freitas, 47, of Taunton, a Bristol County sheriff’s deputy and a longtime Immigration and Customs Enforcement task-force officer, was convicted yesterday by a jury in U.S. District Court in Boston of one count of bulk cash smuggling and one count of structuring the export of U.S. currency. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 12 click here to read the story 08:07

Court documents suggest Carlos Rafael may sell all permits

Documents filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday suggest that Carlos Rafael’s time as the New Bedford’s “codfather” may be coming to an end. As part of a motion requesting a sentencing delay, Rafael’s attorney sought “additional time to resolve a critical component” in the case, specifically, “the possibility of a global settlement, which may involve Mr. Rafael exiting the commercial fishing business.”The request suggests not only the 13 permits subject to forfeiture, but all of Rafael’s fishing permits may wind up with someone else before the sentencing. click here to read the story 21:23

Jockeying to control Rafael’s fishing rights ramps up

John Bullard can’t escape Carlos Rafael. People stop the Northeast Regional Administrator for NOAA in the hallway daily trying to pry any information they can about 13 Rafael fishing permits that may be surrendered as part of a plea agreement the New Bedford fishing tycoon agreed to at the end of March. “People come up to talk to me every day on this case. It’s of intense interest,” Bullard said. “I’m looking forward to a day when nobody talks to me about this case.” Sentencing for Rafael is scheduled for July 28. The date has already been delayed once, but it’s likely when the fate of the permits will be decided. The date hasn’t prevented politicians and organizations from already jockeying for position to acquire the permits up for forfeiture after Rafael pleaded guilty to 28 counts including falsifying fishing quotas, false labeling, conspiracy and tax evasion. click here to read the story 07:43