Tag Archives: Carlos Rafael

300 jobs lost in first month of NOAA’s Sector XI groundfishing ban

Nearly two months have passed since NOAA imposed a groundfishing an on Carlos Rafael’s fleet.  Those within the Port of New Bedford estimate it’s put upward of 80 fishermen out of work. That number merely only scratches the surface according to a study done by SMAST professor Dan Georgianna. Within the first 30 days of the ban, Georgianna estimates that across the Northeast 300 jobs were lost, with an income loss of about $5.7 million.  When including the retail loss the number surges to $12 million. >click here to read<19:26

SouthCoast fishermen call NOAA’s civil action against Carlos Rafael ‘overkill’

New Bedford- Current and former area fishermen balked at NOAA’s reach in its civil action against Carlos Rafael. “It’s total overkill,” said Stephen Lozinak, captain of fishing vessel Marsheen Venture and who has been fishing for more than five decades. “The whole thing is overkill. All it’s doing is hurting the workers in the city of New Bedford.” >click here to read <21:01

NOAA’s civil action against Carlos Rafael involves scallop permits

NOAA seeks $900M, all permits from Codfather in civil action – On Wednesday, the federal agency responsible for managing the nation’s fisheries issued the charging documents against Rafael, his seafood company, Carlos Seafood Inc., and 28 other businesses entities related to the New Bedford fishing mogul — including two unnamed scallop captains from his fleet. >click to read the story< 20:28

NOAA’s civil action against Carlos Rafael involves scallop permits – new allegations involve misreporting in the scallop fishery >click to read the story<

John Bullard: SectorIX board’s failure to act stopped its fishing

For New Englanders, Atlantic cod is not just another fish. The Sacred Cod that hangs in the Massachusetts State House is a testament to the cod’s place in our culture and history. For centuries, we fished for cod, as we watched the stock decline, we tried various ways to protect the resource this is considered as much a birthright as a commodity. In 2009, the New England Fishery Management Council under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, agreed to try a system called “catch shares” which worked well on the West Coast. click here to read the op-ed 20:52 

Don Cuddy: Sector closure angers and worries groundfish industry

It was on Monday, November 20, two days before his retirement party as NOAA regional administrator, that John Bullard abruptly ordered the shutdown of Sector IX’s groundfish operations. The boats out fishing had to return to port forthwith.,,, Bullard’s move was praised by some but it engendered some harsh criticism in the city. Click here to read the story. 23:11

While setting New England fishery rules, John Bullard was an exception

He’s been called a Neanderthal and the most reviled man in the region’s fishing community. At a public meeting broadcast on national TV, a fisherman once accused him to his face of lying for a living. As the regional fisheries administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, John Bullard has drawn ire from all sides — fishermen, environmentalists, and politicians alike. His decisions have been routinely controversial, and he has rarely minced words in defending them. click here to read the story 20:53

Mayor Jon Mitchell: Ban costing Port of New Bedford 500K per day

In a letter addressed to NOAA, Mayor Jon Mitchell said the Port of New Bedford could be losing nearly $500,000 a day because of the groundfishing ban. Mitchell referenced analysis prepared by Professor Dan Georgiana of SMAST, which stated the 25-day-old ban caused as much as $12 million (to date) in damage to the port. Mitchell filed is letter Wednesday, the final day in which comments regarding the ban could be submitted. Andrew Saunders, the attorney for Sector IX, the Carlos Rafael fishing division that’s prevented from groundfishing, also submitted a letter Wednesday. click here to read the story 17:55

What’s fair in breaking up the empire of ‘the Codfather’?

Randy Cushman, a fourth generation fisherman in Maine, knows what the crimes of Carlos Rafael cost him.,,, Rafael, whose downfall came after he boasted of his scheme to undercover IRS agents posing as Russian mobsters, is now serving a 46-month sentence in federal prison.,,,  Senator Elizabeth Warren fired off a letter in August warning of “needless, immense damage” if permits leave New Bedford. Governor Charlie Baker asked that the permits at least stay in Massachusetts. click here to read the story 07:16

It’s devestating’: Fishermen try to cope as NOAA shuts down groundfishing

Cesar Verde only knows fishing. The New Bedford resident learned the craft in his native Portugal. For the past seventeen years, he’s worked in the fishing industry in his new home, and he’s been a captain for the past decade. However, for the last two weeks, he’s been out of the water because NOAA prohibited Carlos Rafael’s vessels from groundfishing. Verde captains fishing vessel Ilha do Corvo. “So far, (I’m) pitching in on the little savings I have. Soon I’ll run out.” click here to read the story 20:24

Fishermen voice concerns over fallout from Rafaels crimes

A century’s worth of fishing industry experience traveled from New Bedford to the Viking Hotel on Wednesday to describe the impact on NOAA’s groundfish ban on Carlos Rafael’s vessels. Richie Canastra, an owner of the New Bedford fish auction BASE, sat in front of the New England Fisheries Management Council during a public comment portion of it’s meeting and warned of “many layoffs” that will occur because of the ban. click here to read the story 21:02

“It’s a symptom of poor policy”- Codfather Arrest Shines Light on Fishing System

Members of the dwindling Vineyard fishing community who have been watching the proceedings say the tale is a sad commentary on the state of the industry and highlights flaws in its regulation. “It’s a symptom of poor policy,” said Wes Brighton, a Vineyard fisherman and one of the only Islanders to hold a federal commercial groundfishing permit. Mr. Brighton fishes for lobster, conch, monkfish, and some cod from his boat Martha Elizabeth. The system creates an imbalance, he said, giving independently-owned family fishing businesses little access to the fisheries and allowing larger corporations the ability to consolidate fishing permits and quota. click here to read the story 08:49

‘Codfather’s’ fraud leaves New Bedford fishing permits on ice, and lot of people out of work

South Coast officials and seafood industry interests were stunned by Monday’s federal decision to shut down a sector with ties to disgraced fishing magnate Carlos Rafael, a decision they say will cut into the livelihoods of fishermen during the holiday season and beyond. “The ruling itself was unexpected,” said Andrew Saunders, a New Bedford attorney retained two months ago by Northeast Fishery Sector 9, one of 19 non-profit entities set up to manage fishing industry operations in the face of strict catch limits imposed by the federal government.,, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell says there’s collateral damage involved for people in the New Bedford area whose jobs are tethered to the harvesting of groundfish such as cod, flounder and haddock. click here to read the story 10:48

NOAA Bans Rafaels Vessels from Groundfishing

Calling its actions “unprecedented” NOAA announced Monday that Carlos Rafael’s vessels are banned from catching groundfish for the foreseeable future. The government agency also said the vessels currently at sea on a groundfish trip must return to port, where they will be allowed to unload and sell their catch. click here to read the story 13:11

Fishing fleet dominated by ‘Codfather’ grounded – Jailed New Bedford fishing mogul Carlos Rafael’s empire, once one of the largest fish businesses in the country, continues to crumble. click here to read the story 13:31

Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Disapproval of Northeast Fishery Sector IX Operational Plan

Through an Interim Final Rule filed this morning, NOAA Fisheries withdraws approval of the 2017 and 2018 Northeast Fishery Sector IX operations plan. The Regional Administrator determined that the sector and its participants have not complied with the requirements of their approved operations plan, and that the continuation of the Sector IX operations plan will undermine achievement of the conservation and management objectives of the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. This action follows the guilty plea and sentencing of Mr. Carlos Rafael, a major participant in Sector IX, who admitted to falsely reporting catch information. click here to read the press release 12:24

New England Council Supports Regional Administrator’s Action to Enforce GroundfishSector IX Operations Plan –  click here to read press release 16:06

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