Michael P. Casey from Casey’s Seafood has admitted to the charges made against him for importing 180 tons of crab meats from different countries and labelling them as US raised blue crabs. According to Michael, other employees were also a part of the arrangement and the job was done within the company’s premise.
The company falsely labelled the crab meats and sold it to retailers and grocery shops under the pretence of US raised crab meat. This went on for five years and accumulated for a total of $43 million as per the wholesale value.
As per the statement made by G. Zachary Terwilliger who is the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, the fraud accomplished by Michael and his team violated the Lacey Act. This act prohibits the import, export or sale of wildlife or fish plants that have been acquired in ways that violated state or federal law.
He said, “This fraud causes real financial harm to the fragile maritime economies here in the region, and threatens to tarnish the good name of the watermen and women who have worked this estuary for generations”.
Casey claimed that the decline of blue crab in the beginning of 2010 affected the Casey’s Seafood orders. There were difficulties in meeting demands and the company was struggling to do so.
According to the release by Department of Justice, “As part of the guilty plea, Casey further admitted that beginning at least as early as 2010, and continuing through June 17, 2015, he was aware that company employees had been directed to unpack foreign crab meat from suppliers’ containers, comingle it with domestic blue crab and other types of crab, and re-pack that crab meat into Casey’s Seafood containers, all of which were labeled ‘Product of USA”.
Before Michael P. Casey, his father and the founder of Casey’s Seafood, James R. Casey was sentenced to three years in prison in January for the same scam and is serving jail time for his part of scam.
It has been noted that the kind of behaviour these convicts have shown greatly endangers consumers and restrict them from making informed decisions and choose the food.
Mark S. McCormack from t0he FDA Office of Criminal Investigations remarked, “”U.S. consumers expect the origin of their seafood to be correctly identified. When sellers are deceptive about their products’ origins, they deprive the public of important information about their purchasing decisions. We will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who put profits above fair dealing.”