New York wholesaler indicted on seafood fraud charges
A federal grand jury has indicted Montauk, New York-based seafood wholesaler Bob Gosman Co. on seafood fraud charges.
On 21 April, the grand jury unsealed the indictment in the seafood fraud case, which also charges fishing captain Christopher Winkler, Bob Gosman Co. managers Bryan Gosman and Asa Gosman, and an unnamed co-conspirator – a now-defunct company operating out of the New Fulton Fish Market – the U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release.
The charges include conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and obstruction in connection with a scheme to illegally overharvest fluke and black sea bass that had a value of at least USD 250,000 (EUR 207,000) wholesale.
Between May 2014 and July 2016, Winkler, captain of the F/V New Age, went on approximately 70 fishing trips where he caught fluke or black sea bass in excess of applicable quotas. The fish was then sold to the now-defunct company, in which Asa Gosman and Bryan Gosman had an ownership interest.
After the Bronx, New York-based company folded, Winkler sold a smaller quantity of his illegal catch directly to Bob Gosman Co. The overages of fish included at least 74,000 pounds of fluke, and the overall over-quota fish (of all species) were valued at least USD 250,000 wholesale.
The indictment is part of a multi-year, ongoing investigation into fisheries fraud on Long Island, according to the Justice Department.
Winkler, Bryan Gosman, Asa Gosman, and Bob Gosman Co. Inc. were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as well as to unlawfully frustrate the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) efforts at regulating federal fisheries.
“Winkler and the corporate defendant each face substantive fraud charges,” the U.S. Justice Department said.
In addition, Asa Gosman, Bryan Gosman, and Bob Gosman Co. Inc., are charged with obstructing the investigation “by corruptly withholding certain documents and records sought by a federal grand jury,” the Justice Department said.
The defendants will be arraigned at a future date, according to the DOJ.
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