New York seafood processors pleaded guilty to mislabeling fraud
The owners of two Long Island, New York, U.S.A.-based seafood processors pleaded guilty in a massive squid mislabeling scheme.
In a plea agreement with the government, Roy Tuccillo, Senior, and his son, Roy Tuccillo, Junior, 32, and their companies, Anchor Frozen Foods Inc, and Advanced Frozen Foods Inc, pleaded to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The Tuccillos admitted to importing USD 1.1 million (EUR 998,000) worth of giant squid from Peru, marketing it as octopus, and selling it to 10 grocery stores that were unaware of the fraud, the United States Department of Justice said in a press release.
The maximum sentence for both men is five years in prison, three years of post-release supervision, and a fine up to USD 250,000 (EUR 227,000). The corporations may be placed on five years of probation and pay a fine up to USD 500,000 (EUR 454,000).
“Seafood fraud is illegal, undermines confidence in the marketplace, and can have serious consequences for fish, fishermen, the seafood industry and consumers,” Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Law Enforcement James Landon said in the press release. “NOAA’s enforcement priorities include uncovering and investigating incidents of seafood fraud, and we will seek to continue to bring to justice those who engage in this illegal activity.”
From 2011 to 2014, the Tuccillos imported sold more than 113,000 pounds of squid worth USD 1.1 million that they had falsely labeled as octopus.
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