The United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of Virginia reports that the owner of a Newport News seafood business, Casey's Seafood, was sentenced to nearly four years in prison and fined $15,000 for conspiring to commit Lacy Act violations for blending foreign crab meat with Atlantic blue crab meat, then labeling the blended crab meat as “Product of USA."
According to court documents, James R. Casey, 74, of Poquoson, is the owner and President of Casey’s Seafood, Inc. According to court documents, from at least July 2012 through June 2015, Casey knowingly conspired to replace Atlantic blue crab with crab meat from Indonesia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Central and South America. Casey and his co-conspirators falsely labeled at least 397,917 pounds of crab meat, with a retail value in the millions of dollars, as Atlantic blue crab and “Product of the United States."
According to court documents, Casey directed employees to remove foreign crabmeat from the original shipper’s packaging containers, blend and combine foreign crab meat from one processor with crab meat from another processor, and place it into different packing containers with a label declaring that the contents were a “Product of USA,” despite knowing that the contents were imported crab meat. Casey also directed employees to place labels with “Product of the USA” on containers that covered up labels that stated “Product of Brazil” or “Product of China."
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Logan Gregory, Special Agent in Charge for NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement’s Northeast Division, Mark S. McCormack, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office, and Michael K. Lamonea, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric M. Hurt and Trial Attorney Gary Donner of the Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division prosecuted the case.