US supplier sentenced in crab fraud case
The owner of Casey’s Seafood was sentenced to prison for labeling a mixture of United States and foreign blue crab as solely U.S. crab.
James R. Casey, owner of Casey’s Seafood in Newport News, Virginia, U.S.A., was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison for his crimes.
Casey pleaded guilty last September to mislabeling around USD 4.3 million (EUR 3.8 million) worth of crabmeat. The scheme involved nearly 360,000 pounds of product.
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia accused Casey’s of mixing “distressed” (old or recalled, in some cases) crabmeat from Indonesia, Brazil, and other countries with Chesapeake blue crab. The crab was then labeled and sold as a “Product of the USA."
“There was a significant decline in blue crab harvests, making it increasingly more expensive to purchase live blue crab, and increasingly more difficult to make a profit from the labor-intensive process of picking blue crab,” prosecutors wrote in court documents, The Washington Post reported. “As a result, Casey and the company could not and did not process sufficient quantities of blue crab to meet its customers’ demands.”
In addition to prison time, Casey must pay a USD 15,000 (EUR 13,000) fine and spend three years on supervised release, TV station WAVY reported.