Tag Archives: Carlos Rafael

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

Maine congressional delegation asks forfeited groundfish permits be redistributed through Northeast

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin sent a letter Monday to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asking that the 13 groundfish permits forfeited by Carlos Rafael — a New Bedford fisherman who has pleaded guilty to 28 federal counts of tax evasion, falsifying fishing quotas and conspiracy — be redistributed to fishermen throughout the Northeast, not only New Bedford. In their letter, the Maine congressional delegation said that groundfish permits embody a shared resource and, as such, should be returned to groundfish fishermen in “a fair and uniform manner.” click here to read the story 08:53

Opinion: Rafael’s assets could fund observer program

Any discussion of fishery management nowadays — official and casual alike — is likely to include musings on what should happen to the assets forfeited by Carlos Rafael as punishment for his recent crimes. Mr. Rafael pleaded guilty to charges related to his falsifying landing records and laundering cash, and is scheduled to be sentenced in late July. The courts are working to untangle the IRS and fisheries crimes, dealing with them at one time. A careful distinction between tax penalties and fishing penalties must be made.  The penalties for the tax crimes will be arrived at through IRS rules and laws. The penalties for fisheries crimes are stipulated in NOAA regulations. They provide great latitude in application, from a slap on the wrist to a permanent end of fishing for Carlos Seafood. The defense is making an argument that Mr. Rafael’s influence on the fishery is so important — due to his size — that economic harm to others would be too great if he were to be sanctioned too severely. click here to read the op-ed 08:42

Labor Council latest to make plea for Carlos Rafael permits to remain in New Bedford

The line of organizations with their eyes focused on the future of Carlos Rafael’s fishing permits continued to grow Friday. The Greater Southeastern Massachusetts Labor Council addressed a letter to John K. Bullard, NOAA’s regional director from Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, as well as U.S. Attorney William Weinreb that urged the two men “to allocate the fishing permits now controlled by Carlos Rafael to the New Bedford area.” We sent a letter basically because of the fishing industry in New Bedford,” Cynthia Rodrigues, president of the council said. “(The permits landing elsewhere) will hurt the fishing in New Bedford.” Bullard said he couldn’t comment on matters under litigation but saw no issues with parties announcing their opinions on the matter. click here to read the story 16:56

Letter: ‘Codfather’ permits should be redistributed

To the editor: Carlos Rafael’s environmental crime spree, spanning two decades, will finally come to an end (”’Codfather’ faces $109K fine, loss of 13 vessels,” April 3). Rafael pled guilty to federal charges of falsifying fish catch reports, conspiracy and tax evasion. He will serve at least four years in jail and will forfeit millions of dollars in fishing assets.  For law-abiding fishermen, this day is long overdue. While other fishermen were complying with steep reductions in fishing quotas, Rafael decided those rules didn’t apply to him. click here to read the letter 09:22

What’s next for Carlos Rafael’s fishing permits?

New Bedford – Almost a week ago, City Council members asked for their names to be attached to a late file agenda pertaining to Carlos Rafael’s groundfish permits. Behind Ward 4 Councilor Dana Rebeiro, Council President Joseph Lopes and Ward 5 Councilor Kerry Winterson, the council requested “that the Committee on Internal Affairs meet with Attorney General Maura Healey and NOAA to discuss how current owners and mariners operating in New Bedford have the first right of refusal to acquire licenses to be auctioned as result of the plea agreement in the case of The United States vs. Carlos Rafael… The written motion was a bit premature. Following Thursday’s council meeting, Rebeiro acknowledged the measure was “to get ahead of the ball” in terms of where the permits may land. So what’s next? click here to read the story 19:11

Did catch shares enable the Codfather’s fishing fraud?

Carlos Rafael’s guilty plea late last month of falsifying fish quotas, conspiracy and tax evasion has prompted renewed criticism of one of the most contentious parts of the New England groundfish fishery’s management system: catch shares.Rafael, who dubbed himself “The Codfather,” owned one of the largest commercial fishing fleets in the United States, and for some community fishermen in New England, his case represents consolidation run amok. Consolidating fishing permits, they say, also centralizes power, making fraud more likely. But for environmentalists who support catch shares as a way to reduce overfishing, consolidation isn’t inevitable. They say Rafael’s case highlights the need for better monitoring and fraud protections to prevent the sort of cheating that can plague any fishery management system. click here to read the rest 19:09

New Bedford among crowd staking claim to Carlos Rafael’s permits

Before Carlos Rafael uttered the word “guilty” last month, the judge made the New Bedford fishing mogul aware of the possibility of forfeiting his assets, which means permits, too. About two months remain before Rafael’s sentencing date, but cities and states have started to acknowledge that possibility as well. “The goal for me is to get ahead of the ball to make partnerships with people that have the same interests, which is keeping the licenses local,” Ward 4 Councilor Dana Rebeiro said. John Pappalardo and Maggie Raymond, the executive director of Associated Fisheries of Maine, expect the status of Rafael’s permits to be decided on the sentencing date. Still, Raymond is already lobbying for any forfeited permit to go to Maine. click here to read the story 08:16

Loss of ‘Codfather’ permits could hurt New Bedford

By late morning just before Easter weekend, three fishing vessels lined up at the docks to unload their catch, and they all belonged to one man — the local mogul known as the “Codfather,” Carlos Rafael. “It’s a good haul,” a passing auction worker at the Whaling City Seafood Display Auction said under her breath, as crew members, some still in their orange waterproof bibs, unloaded the ice-packed fish. But now, Rafael’s recent conviction on federal charges that he cheated fishing regulations to boost his profits is putting his many vessels and permits up for grabs — potentially distributing them to ports along the New England coast. That would deliver an economic blow to New Bedford and the people who depend on the business created by Rafael’s fleet. If his permits are seized as expected, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the regulatory agency known as NOAA, could reissue the permits to fishermen elsewhere in the region. “There are a lot more innocent people who could get punished by this,” said Jim Kendall, a former fisherman who runs New Bedford Seafood Consulting. click here to read the story 09:00

How Did ‘The Codfather’ Rise? Some Say Fishing Rules Pull Up Big Fishermen

While Carlos Rafael waits to hear his fate, some wonder whether there could be another “Codfather.” Critics say fishing industry regulations pave the way for bigger and more corrupt fishing enterprises. But, some, like Janice Plante of the New England Fisheries Managment Council, disagree with those who blame the regulatory system, insisting the rules don’t “make somebody a criminal.” Joining Morning Edition is Niaz Dorry, of the Gloucester-based Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. She explains why she believes Rafael’s success is connected to fishing industry rules. click here to listen to the audio report 08:32

Carlos Rafael’s guilty plea in federal court draws mixed reactions

There was a mixture of emotions and reactions among members of the local fishing industry over the guilty plea Carlos that “The Codfather” Rafael entered in Federal Court Thursday. Some expressed a certain amount of sympathy for Rafael in the highly regulated business. Some didn’t. This doesn’t come as a surprise,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. Ever since Carlos’ arrest became public it was clear the government had him dead to rights.” “The more important question is what will happen to the permits. That determination has been left up to NOAA. Jim Kendall, president of New Bedford Seafood Consulting, had the same concern about the permits. He noted that other boat owners have been stripped of their permits. “But I am not sure that it means anything for us,” he said. Read the story here 18:18

Fishing mogul Carlos Rafael pleads guilty, will be sentenced in June

Carlos Rafael pleaded guilty to charges of falsifying fish quotas, tax evasion and conspiracy in U.S. District Court in Boston Thursday. The U.S. attorney recommended 46 months of prison time for the sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for June 27. Rafael’s attorney William Kettlewell declined comment. He said his office would send out a statement. An updated indictment released two weeks ago included the charge of tax evasion. It stated from November 2014 to about October of 2015, Rafael failed to pay taxes in the sum of $108,929. It also included two new paragraphs regarding the general allegations toward Rafael. Read the rest here 17:02

An in-depth article – Owner of Carlos Seafood pleads guilt to forging records, smuggling profits  Click here to read the article 17:36

For Immediate Release – Statement by Carlos Rafael

“There have been a number of stories written about this case and about me.  Some of the things that have been written are true, some are not.  Here is the truth.  Today I pled guilty to the charges facing me.  I am not proud of the things I did that brought me here, but admitting them is the right thing to do, and I am prepared to accept the consequences of my actions.
I started in this industry cutting fish when I was 16 years old, and it has been an honor to work with the people of the Port of New Bedford.  Looking back, I’m most proud of the hundreds of jobs our businesses created, and the opportunities they created for families.  Today, I have a single goal.  To protect our employees and all of the people and businesses who rely on our companies from the consequences of my actions.  I will do everything I can to make sure that the Port of New Bedford remains America’s leading fishing port.” Press release from Collara LLP  14:47

From maple syrup fraudsters to The Codfather – 5 of the Worst Criminals in Food History!

Like precious gem heists and exotic animal snatching, food crimes come with their fair share of high drama. The details of one seafood kingpin’s story are enough for an episode of The Sopranos: Federal agents disguised themselves as Russians and busted fisherman Carlos Rafael for a laundry list of crimes, including mislabeling his catch and selling thousands of pounds of fish under-the-table to a dealer in New York City. For our latest episode of Bite, our food politics podcast, we talked to journalist Ben Goldfarb about his recent Mother Jones feature about this fish tycoon, known as “The Codfather.” The interview with Goldfarb begins at 1:24. Listen to the audio, and read the story here 12:30

How the illegal pursuits of a fishing empire could affect an entire industry already struggling under intense regulation.

He’s been dubbed the Codfather. Carlos Rafael, owner of a fishing empire that is the largest in the Northeast if not the country, is accused of exploiting federal fishery regulations to get ahead and misreporting hundreds of thousands of pounds of fish. His alleged crimes expose the pitfalls of a system meant to help fishermen and their catch coexist. It’s a tale of fraud, smuggling and organized crime better suited to the big screen than the docks of New Bedford.,, Besides tax evasion and fraud, the problem with Rafael’s plan is that it undermined the efforts of federal authorities to manage healthy fisheries and avoid over fishing.  Fishermen from Rhode Island to Maine have had their catches limited by federal quotas since 2009 under a program regulators say promotes sustainable fishing, but for many fishermen it’s meant hanging up their hooks. During the first year of the catch-share program, there were 440 commercial boats. That number dwindled to just 120 by 2013. Read the story here 09:16

‘Codfather’ fraud plea hearing pushed back to end of the month

The hearing where a New Bedford fishing magnate is expected to plead guilty to federal fraud charges has been pushed back. The U.S. Attorney’s Office had originally announced the hearing for Carlos Rafael would be held on March 16, but Wednesday, the day before that hearing would have been, they announced it was rescheduled for March 30 at 2:30 p.m. Rafael is accused of lying to federal authorities for years about the quantity and species of fish his boats caught in order to evade federal fishing quotas — claiming it was all haddock, instead of other species that have stricter quotas. Video link 12:34

The Deliciously Fishy Case of the “Codfather”

The fake Russians met the Codfather on June 3, 2015, at an inconspicuous warehouse on South Front Street in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The Codfather’s lair is a green and white building with a peaked roof, fishing gear strewn across a fenced-in backyard, and the words “Carlos Seafood” stamped above the door. The distant gray line of the Atlantic Ocean is visible behind a towering garbage heap. In the 19th century, New Bedford’s sons voyaged aboard triple-masted ships in pursuit of sperm whales; now they chase cod, haddock, and scallops. Every year, more than $350 million worth of seafood passes through this waterfront, a significant slice of which is controlled by the Codfather, the most powerful fisherman in America’s most valuable seafood port. Big Read! continue reading the story here 07:56

Are the Feds gonna let Carlos cop a plea? Trial pushed back again!

Indicted New Bedford scallops magnate Carlos “Codfather” Rafael has asked the court to postpone his upcoming trial in part to pursue talks with prosecutors about “resolving” the matter, court documents show. One of Rafael’s attorneys, William Kettlewell, asked the Massachusetts federal court of judge William G. Young to postpone Rafael’s Feb. 13 trial to at least March 20. Young granted the order. The delay, the second in recent months, is required as Kettlewell is expected to represent a different client in a two-week trial beginning on Jan. 30, the lawyer wrote. But, that time can also be used for negotiations with prosecutors about a possible settlement. Read the story here – The federal trial of New Bedford fishing kingpin Carlos Rafael has been pushed back more than a month to March amid indications that Rafael is looking for a deal from federal prosecutors. Read the story here 15:49

The Last Trial of the Codfather

Last night, just nine fishing boats pulled up to the dock behind the building, far fewer than the hundreds of boats lining up for the old city auction on Pier 3 in the 1980s. Back then, boats would haul in as much as 500 tonnes of cod, haddock, flounder, and other species of groundfish from the icy depths of the North Atlantic. Today’s groundfish catch is 4.3 tonnes. Most of the money keeping the port afloat is in scallops. I start to pull out a chair to take a seat when I hear a voice behind me. “I don’t think you want to do that,” says a lanky, gray-haired man reading a magazine. “The guy who normally sits in that chair will choke you to death.” “Choke you to death on cigarette smoke!” cracks a black guy with a patch on his beret that reads, “I’m Cape Verdean.” After I move to the back row, a big-bellied, bald man in a plaid shirt pushes past the No Smoking sign on the front door and walks into the room. He takes his seat and lights up a Winston cigarette. He spits out a few words about a dissatisfied fish buyer to the auction owner in raspy Portuguese. Then, he switches to English. “Tell him he can go fuck himself, the fish is fine,” he growls. “I saw every fucking one, it’s his fucking problem.” It doesn’t take me long to realize that this is Carlos Rafael, otherwise known as The Codfather, who was out of jail on a US $2-million bond. Under the table, an electronic monitoring bracelet is beaming his location to federal authorities who are making sure he gets back to his house every night by 8:30 p.m. Read this article here 21:16

Judge separates Carlos Rafael trial from sheriff’s deputy Antonio Freitas – Carlos is up first

A federal district court judge on Monday did as some predicted andcarlos rafaell the criminal cases against New Bedford seafood mogul Carlos Rafael and sheriff’s deputy Antonio Freitas. Attorney Dan Cronin, representing Freitas, said Monday afternoon that Judge William Young in U.S. District Court in Boston also moved the start date of the trials to Feb. 6 because of scheduling conflicts. He decided Rafael would go first. Cronin had moved on behalf of Freitas that the cases be separated, but his motion was opposed on a technicality. Prosecutors agreed, however, with Rafael’s attorneys that trying both cases simultaneously would violate Rafael’s rights because of some of the things that Freitas has said in interviews that will actually be used against him and Rafael during the trial. Read the rest of the story here 08:42

Partial transcript of Carlos Rafael’s meeting with undercover IRS agents

carlos rafaelDocuments filed in U.S. District Court in Boston Thursday show seafood mogul Carlos Rafael implicating his whole family in his alleged scheme to smuggle cash to the Azores and turn large catches of protected fish into large amounts of cash by selling them under the table. Rafael is also quoted as boasting that he pressured Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson, into giving Deputy Sheriff Antonio Freitas a raise and promotion, and in turn using Freitas to get large amounts of cash around immigration and customs at Logan Airport. The document is an official response to requests by Rafael and Freitas to be tried separately to preserve their individual rights. Read Carlos Rafael’s motion to sever his trial from the trial of Antonio Freitas.  Read the government’s response, which contains Carlos Rafael’s alleged statements to undercover agents about the Antonio Freitas and the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department. The items are contained in a partial transcript of a meeting Rafael had with two men he thought were Russian businessmen but who were actually IRS agents operating under cover to learn how Rafael did business. Read the story here 08:55

Carlos ‘Codfather’ Rafael, Bristol County sheriff’s deputy seek seperate trials

carlos rafaellNew Bedford fishing kingpin Carlos Rafael and the Bristol County sheriff’s deputy indicted as Rafael’s co-defendant each are seeking to be tried separately in U.S. District Court in Boston. Rafael, known widely as “The Codfather” because of his vast New Bedford fishing assets and waterfront holdings, and Antonio M. Freitas, the Bristol County deputy sheriff, are scheduled to stand trial together on Jan. 9. Attorneys for both men filed separate motions with the court earlier this week to sever the cases. The motions also seeks to have the court try each defendant separately, each claiming the other’s statements to law enforcement officials would injure their own cases if tried together. Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges. “A joint trial presents a serious risk of compromising Mr. Rafael’s Sixth Amendment confrontation rights in light of incriminating evidence made to law enforcement by Mr. Freitas,” William Kettlewell, Rafael’s defense attorney, wrote in his motion to U. S. District Court Judge William Young. “Moreover, severance in this case would not be administratively burdensome as the defendants are jointly named in only one of 28 counts alleged in the indictment.” Read the story here 08:14

Why Is This Indicted Seafood Mogul Still Buying More Fishing Boats?

carlos rafaelCarlos “the Codfather” Rafael is not letting his upcoming federal trial for mislabeling seafood slow down his massive commercial-fishing business. While fishermen across New England marvel at how Rafael is allowed to continue working while facing a 27-count indictment, public records suggest that the indicted seafood mogul might even be expanding his fleet of more than 40 vessels. Documents filed with the Massachusetts secretary of state’s office show that on May 16, Rafael’s wife, Conceicao, created a company called Nemesis LLC with the mission “to engage in fishing and shellfishing of every nature and description.” Then, on June 24, two days after Rafael’s lawyer appeared in court to schedule his January 2017 trial date, Nemesis bought a fishing vessel previously called the Jamie & Ashley. Read the story here 12:19

Prosecutors dismiss charges against indicted fishing magnate Carlos Rafael’s bookkeeper

Federal prosecutors moved Monday to dismiss the charges against Dartmouth resident Debra Messiercarlos rafael, the longtime bookkeeper for indicted fishing magnate Carlos Rafael, after her case had sat largely idle since her February arrest. The motion clears Messier of potential penalties ahead of Rafael’s federal trial, slated for January 2017 at U.S. District Court in Boston. Rafael and Messier were arrested Feb. 26 on charges of conspiracy and submitting falsified records to the government, after federal authorities raided the Carlos Seafood building on New Bedford’s waterfront.Messier was released from custody the same day on a $10,000 bond. Prosecutors said Monday’s dismissal motion was filed “in the interests of justice.” Prosecutors allege that Rafael, for years and with Messier’s help, lied to federal authorities about the amount and kinds of fish caught by his New Bedford-based fleet, in order to evade federal fishing quotas. Read the story here 14:29

Carlos “The Codfather” Rafael’s trial could have huge stakes

Indicted fishing magnate Carlos Rafael controls nearly one-fifth of the harbor’s commercial fleet and had permits worth about $80 million last year, according to public records and local interviews. The size and scope of Rafael’s fishing business indicate a significant chunk of New Bedford’s waterfront economy could be at stake should Rafael stand trial in January 2017. He faces federal charges tied to an alleged, multi-year scheme involving illegally caught fish, bags of cash from a wholesale buyer in New York City and a smuggling operation to Portugal, via Logan International Airport in Boston. An initial survey of Rafael’s fishing permits, vessels and the corporations behind them, along with local data and interviews, provides a glimpse into an operation that has become a flashpoint for broader debates about industry regulation and oversight. Read the article here 09:08

Carlos Rafael and smuggling accomplice Antonio M. Freitas trial date set to begin on Jan. 9, 2017

carlos rafaelThe two defendants’ cases have progressed side by side so far. Neither appeared in U.S. District Court on Wednesday in Boston, where District Court Judge William G. Young scheduled their trial to begin on Jan. 9, 2017, in a brief status conference. Neither a federal prosecutor nor lawyers for Rafael and Freitas commented afterward. Rafael, a 64-year-old Dartmouth resident who owns one of the largest commercial fishing operations in the U.S., including scores of New Bedford-based vessels, faces 27 counts on federal charges including conspiracy, false entries and bulk cash smuggling, according to the indictment filed last month. Freitas is a 46-year-old Taunton resident and Bristol County Sheriff’s Office deputy, suspended without pay. He faces two federal counts, one for bulk cash smuggling and one for international structuring. Read the rest here 20:37

New hearing date for indicted “Codfather” Carlos Rafael, sheriff’s deputy

carlos rafaelThe next scheduled court date for indicted fishing magnate Carlos Rafael is a June 22 status conference in Boston, and a trial would have to begin by early September should the case go that far, according to court documents filed this week. The status conference also will include indicted Bristol County Sheriff’s Office deputy Antonio M. Freitas, a 46-year-old Taunton resident. The conference will be held at U.S. District Court in Boston, and signals the transfer of Rafael’s and Freitas’ cases from Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy to District Court Judge William G. Young. This week’s documents also shed light on when potential trials for Rafael and Freitas could begin. Prosecutors’ indictment of Rafael and Freitas was unsealed May 9, and Freitas appeared in court that day, meaning the Speedy Trial Act would require a trial to begin within 70 days of that initial appearance. Young ruled this week, though, to start the 70-day clock at the June 22 status hearing, rather than May 9. A motion requesting the extension had been agreed upon by prosecutors and defense counsel. Read the rest here 11:26

The Arraignment: Carlos “Cod Father” Rafael pleads not guilty to all 27 counts

carlos rafaelIndicted fishing magnate Carlos Rafael pleaded not guilty to all 27 counts against him Thursday in federal court in Worcester, where a judge added another $1 million to Rafael’s bond and placed a fishing vessel and permit as collateral. “The (U.S.) government has confirmed with the Portuguese government that Mr. Rafael is, in fact, a citizen of Portugal,” in addition to his U.S. citizenship, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said, explaining the reason for the additional bond request. Lelling said he and Rafael’s defense attorney, William H. Kettlewell of Boston, had agreed to the additional bond conditions before Rafael’s Thursday arraignment in U.S. District Court. Rafael’s bond now stands at a total of $2 million, with his North Dartmouth home on Tucker Lane and Carlos Seafood building, on South Front Street in New Bedford, also as collateral for the bond. Read the rest here  06:53