US dealer to be sentenced for illegal lobster buys

The owner of a U.S.-based seafood dealership in southern Maine who was snared in a federal and state probe that began with an allegation that more than USD 1 million worth of lobsters were stolen from one of the state’s largest cooperatives is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

The sentencing of John Price, 58, of Kittery, who owns J.P. Shellfish of Eliot, is expected to provide more detail on a criminal investigation that began more than two years ago when Robert Thompson of St. George, the former manager of the Spruce Head Fishermen’s Cooperative, was arrested and accused of stealing more than USD 1 million worth of lobsters from members and selling them to Price’s business.

Price’s attorney, Daniel Mitchell, said, however, the lobsters purchased by Price were side sales that were managed by Thompson on behalf of cooperative members who did not want to sell through the cooperative.

Price is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 29 in U.S. District Court in Portland for 12 counts of illegal currency structuring and one count of violation of the Lacey Act. Price pleaded guilty in January to those charges.

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