Seven Indicted for Fish Scam
After a two year investigation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, five Florida fishermen and seafood dealers and two men in Georgia were indicted last week on 54 counts in U.S. District Court in Albany, Ga., for allegedly conspiring to illegally transport more than $200,000 worth of fish across state lines, mislabeling fish and falsifying documents.
James and Guy Stovall, owners of Road Runner Seafood in Colquitt, Ga., are charged with working with Florida fishermen and seafood dealers Floyd Jenkins, Gary Brown, James Nations Jr., Jeffery Cannon and Eric Woods to purchase illegally caught fish and mislabeling fish that must be reported to the FWC and NOAA
NOAA and FWC investigators seized computers, business records and other documents from Road Runner Seafood, Brown’s Seafood in Medart, Fla., and Robbie’s Seafood in Perry, Fla.
Most of the violations involve the federal Lacey Act, which prohibits interstate shipment of fish or wildlife taken in violation of state law. Each Lacey Act violation carries a possible five-year prison term and a $250,000 fine.
The seven defendants have been arrested or issued summons requiring them to appear in the U.S. District Court in Albany on Aug. 13.