Second executive of Casey’s Seafood in Newport News, Va., faces five years in jail and a fine for his role in falsely representing foreign crabmeat as U.S. product.
The U.S. Justice Department said a Virginia seafood processor executive pleaded guilty in a Newport News, Va. federal court on Thursday to participating in a multimillion dollar scheme of mislabeling foreign crabmeat as a U.S. product.
Michael Casey was the vice president for marketing and operations of Casey’s Seafood Inc., a wholesale processor of crabmeat and other seafood. He pleaded guilty to conspiring with his father, James Casey, and others to substitute foreign crabmeat for Atlantic blue crab.
James Casey, the owner and president of Casey’s Seafood, pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced in January to four years in jail.
Instead of Atlantic blue crab, as labeled, the Caseys used crabmeat from Indonesia, China, Thailand, Vietnam and Central and South America. “Casey falsely labeled nearly 400,000 pounds of crabmeat with a retail value in the millions of dollars,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia G. Zachary Terwilliger said in a statement.
The Justice Department estimated that the Caseys falsely labeled more than 183 tons of crabmeat as Product of USA for retail in grocery stores. The wholesale value of the illicitly labeled crabmeat was estimated at $4.3 million. The scheme began in early 2010 and lasted through mid-June 2015.
Michael Casey is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 14 and faces up to five years in jail, as well as a fine of up to “half the gross gain of the offence,” the Justice Department said.
The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement continues to investigate false crabmeat labeling in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration, Homeland Security Department’s Office of Investigations and local authorities in Virginia.