Tag Archives: Department of Justice

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

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

Wanchese fisherman pleads guilty to federal charges

Gaston L. Saunders, 53, of Wanchese, pled guilty on Aug. 3 to federal charges regarding the illegal harvest and sale of Atlantic striped bass from federal waters. The charges stem from a 2010 Lacey Act investigation by NOAA, assisted by the Coast Guard. Since 1990, there has been a ban on harvesting Atlantic striped bass in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which spans between three miles and 200 miles seaward of the coastline. Eleven other commercial fishermen have entered guilty pleas for conduct uncovered in the investigation. Saunders also pled guilty to one count of federal tax evasion and three counts of failure to file federal taxes. In the plea agreement, he agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $544,946.35 payable to the Internal Revenue Service. A sentencing hearing will be set at a later date. Saunders faces a total maximum sentence of 13 years imprisonment and/or a $800,000 fine. click here to read the story 14:19

Alaskan Commercial Fishing Couple Charged with Willful Failure to Pay Over $400,000 in Income Taxes on Income Earned for 13 Years

An Alaskan couple was charged in federal court in Juneau, Alaska today with four counts of willful failure to pay their individual income taxes, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder for the District of Alaska.  According to the Information, Archie W. Demmert III and Roseann L. Demmert earned income from commercial fishing. The Information alleges that Archie Demmert owned Vetta Bay LLC, which owned the Demmerts’ fishing vessel, the Emerald Beauty. click here to read the press release 15:09

Tuna producers up to something fishy as they face conspiracy allegations

Executives of the most popular tuna brands in the U.S. — Chicken of the Sea, Bumble Bee and StarKist — conspired regularly to keep prices high for consumers with a taste for one of America’s favourite sandwich ingredients, according to criminal and civil court records updated this week. A typical can of tuna today costs about $1.50 and the U.S. Department of Justice says that price may be the result of price fixing by Thai, South Korean and U.S. seafood dealers, while major retailers are suing alleging they’ve been ripped off. The U.S. government began investigating criminal price fixing between the three companies more than two years ago. Together the companies supply about 80 per cent of the $1.7 billion of canned tuna sold annually in the United States, according to the court records. Following up, Walmart and other top retailers filed civil lawsuits. Click here to read the story 17:14

Pacific Seafood, DOJ in fiery clash over Newport expansion

Pacific Seafood Group, the industry’s billion-dollar behemoth, has thoroughly shaken up this bustling commercial fishing town with an expansion blitz that will increase its already dominant market position. But before going ahead with a deal to buy the hulking Trident Seafood processing plant in the heart of Newport’s Bayfront, the biggest player in the West Coast seafood business made what one lawmaker called an “unprecedented request.”,,, Pacific may have overplayed its hand. In a blistering response to the company late Thursday afternoon, the Department of Justice threatened to take enforcement action against the company unless it agrees to put the Trident plant on the market for a year and, short of a sale, operate it for at least three years. Click here to read the article 09:30

Captain of Fishing Vessel Pleads Guilty for Discharging Waste into the Ocean

A captain of the fishing vessel (F/V) Native Sun pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Seattle, Washington, for discharging oily-waste directly into the ocean in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and the federal conspiracy statute. Randall Fox pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Lasnik of the Western District of Washington to two criminal felony counts for violating APPS’ prohibition against discharging oily-wastes, namely machinery-space bilge water, directly into the ocean. According to court documents, Randall Fox, and other co-conspirators, repeatedly discharged the oil-contaminated bilge water into the ocean using unapproved submersible pumps and hoses. On at least one occasion, such a discharge left a sizable oily-sheen along the surface of the water that trailed alongside the F/V Native Sun. Trial for vessel owner Bingham Fox is currently set to begin March 21, 2017. Read the rest here  15:38

Princess Cruise Lines To Pay Largest-Ever Criminal Penalty For Deliberate Vessel Pollution

caribbean-princessPrincess Cruise Lines Ltd. (Princess) has agreed to plead guilty to seven felony charges stemming from its deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up. Princess will pay a $40 million penalty– the largest-ever criminal penalty involving deliberate vessel pollution – and plead guilty to charges related to illegal dumping of oil contaminated waste from the Caribbean Princess cruise ship. The U.S. investigation was initiated after information was provided to the U.S. Coast Guard by the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) indicating that a newly hired engineer on the Caribbean Princess reported that a so-called “magic pipe” had been used on Aug. 23, 2013, to illegally discharge oily waste off the coast of England. The whistleblowing engineer quit his position when the ship reached Southampton, England. The chief engineer and senior first engineer ordered a cover-up, including removal of the magic pipe and directing subordinates to lie. Read the story here 17:42

Tuna Vessel Operator Convicted for Oil Discharges Off American Samoa

department-of-justice-logoAn American tuna fishing company that regularly unloaded its catch in American Samoa, was convicted and sentenced today for discharging oil into the South Pacific and for maintaining false records, announced Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden of the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips for the District of Columbia.  The company, Pacific Breeze Fisheries LLC, owned the Fishing Vessel F/V Pacific Breeze, a tuna purse seiner that was responsible for the pollution. Pacific Breeze Fisheries admitted that its engineers failed to document the illegal dumping of oily bilge water into the waters off American Samoa without the use of required pollution prevention equipment.  These discharges occurred on at least two occasions, in 2014 and 2015, before the vessel brought fish to a cannery in the port of Pago Pago, American Samoa. Read the rest here 14:11

Owner of Commercial Fishing Business and Local Sherrif’s Deputy Indicted in Scheme to Falsify Fishing Records

BOSTON – The owner of one of the largest commercial fishing businesses in the United States and a Bristol County Sheriff’s Deputy were charged in connection with a long-running scheme involving submitting falsified records to the federal government to evade federal fishing quotas and then smuggling the profits to Portugal. The federal indictment charging the two men was unsealed today after the arrest of the Sheriff’s Deputy. Carlos Rafael, 64, of Dartmouth, the owner of Carlos Seafood, Inc., was indicted on one count of conspiring to falsify reports submitted to the federal government, 25 counts of submitting falsified records and one count of bulk cash smuggling. Rafael was previously arrested on a criminal complaint filed in February 2016. Antonio Freitas, 46, of Taunton, a Sheriff’s Deputy with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, was indicted on one count of bulk cash smuggling and one count of structuring the export of U.S. currency. Freitas was arrested this morning and will appear today in U.S. District Court in Worcester. The charges arose out of an undercover investigation in which federal agents posed as organized crime figures interested in buying Carlos Seaford.  Read the rest here 18:09

Owner and Captain indicted on conspiracy charges for dumping oil, pollutants into Blaine Harbor

2068518 native sunBingham Fox, owner of the fishing vessel Native Sun, and his son Randall Fox, the boat’s captain, first dumped the waste in 2011 and continued to do so into 2013, according to DOJ. The alleged discharges also were violations of the Clean Water Act and the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. The Thursday, April 7, indictment comes after an investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard. The indictment alleges that the Foxes purchased the Native Sun without a functioning bilge system to separate waste from water to be appropriately discarded later. Instead of repairing the system the Foxes installed a series of hoses and pumps, and ran the hoses out of the engine room and over the side of the boat. Read the rest here 09:28 photo shipspotting.com

House votes to slash climate research, block new red snapper fishing plan, and ‘ocean zoning’ funding

The $51.4 billion spending bill would fund the fiscal 2016 budgets for the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, NASA, the National Science Foundation and related agencies. NOAA — which is housed within Commerce — would get about $5.2 billion, a cut of more than $270 million to its current budget. The Obama administration criticized the climate research cut — as well as a $200 million cut to earth science missions in NASA’s budget — in a veto threat of the overall spending bill released Monday. The statement of administration policy also takes aim at Republicans’ decision not to include $147 million for a new ocean survey vessel,,, Read the rest here 17:41

Feds support vacating 1958 judgment against lobstermen’s group

The decree was a result of a lawsuit the Department of Justice brought against the organization in 1957, after federal officials became concerned that members of the group were trying to fix the market by setting a minimum price that lobstermen would be paid for their catch. Read more here 08:53

Four Commercial Fishermen Indicted in Maryland for Illegal Harvest and Interstate Sale of Striped Bass from Chesapeake Bay

According to court documents, Michael D. Hayden Jr., his company, William J. Lednum, Kent Sadler and Daniel Murphy engaged in a multi-year conspiracy during which time they harvested tens of thousands of pounds of striped bass on the Chesapeake Bay in violation of Maryland fishing regulations, falsified documents filed with the State of Maryland, and then transported and sold those poached fish in interstate commerce. [email protected]  01:00

BP settlement could remove local control – negotiations are secret

Because the negotiations are secret, it’s hard for anyone to know how serious or legitimate the suggestions are that the settlement might favor the Natural Resources Damage Assessment. “This was the single largest act of pollution we’ve seen in our country, and those responsible should pay for it,” Moore said. “Eleven people died, and record oil washed up on the shores of the Gulf Coast. If that’s not gross negligence, I don’t know what is.”

http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20121017/ARTICLES/121019700?p=1&tc=pg

How ’bout this?         Lubchenco’s/NOAA’s role in the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2010-2015

In her September 21, 2009 twenty-six page response to Lisa Birnbaum, Director of the Mineral Management Service on the Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2010-2015. Ms. Lubchenco precedes her comments with a rundown of the federal laws that give her and NOAA specific responsibility in the areas covered by the draft proposal. These are “the Coastal Zone Management Act, the National Maine Sanctuaries Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and the Coral Reef Conservation Act as well as NOAA’s statutory roles under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Ocean and Coastal Mapping Integration Act, and the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act.”

Ms. Lubchenco then brings up a series of issues that were not adequately or accurately addressed in the proposal. Clearly she and NOAA had the ability, the foreknowledge and the duty to intercede in those issues. But did they? Anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil still spewing into the Gulf of Mexico -we still don’t know how much – every day attest to how effective that intercession was.http://www.fishnet-usa.com/NOAA_Inaction.htm