Fishing Tycoon Known As the ‘Codfather’ Was Just Sentenced To Prison
A long-running criminal case involving the U.S. commercial fishing industry and a fishing mogul known as the "Codfather" has come to an end.
Carlos Rafael was sentenced to 46 months in prison this week for falsifying records and for tax evasion, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts.
In addition to what will be a nearly four-year stint in prison, Rafael must pay a $200,000 fine and $109,000 in restitution fee to the U.S. Treasury, the Department of Justice said.
As Mother Jones and the Food and Environment Reporting Network reported earlier this year, Rafael oversaw one of the "biggest fisheries frauds in American history." Rafael's scheme involved purposely mislabeling the type of fish his various fishing boats caught in order to bypass strict limits on valuable species like sole, the Mother Jones report explained. He then sold the fish to buyers for "bags of cash," the report said.
Federal agents undertook a massive undercover investigation in which they pretended to be criminals interested in buying Rafael's fish.
The DOJ said that from 2012 to 2016, Rafael misreported 782,812 pounds of fish to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"Mr. Rafael profited at the expense of other hard-working commercial fishermen by falsifying records so he could keep fishing while they were sidelined," U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said in a statement. "The Court accurately described Mr. Rafael's actions as systematic corruption. He will now face the consequences of violating federal laws designed to sustain the New England fishery."