“Virginia” Crab Smuggled Into USA From Parts Unknown

Image: Krista, CC BY 2.0

Ongoing fraud “threatens to tarnish the good name of [Virginia] watermen”

(CNN) It’s safe to say 183 tons is a lot of crab meat.

It’s certainly a lot of crabmeat to import from other countries and repackage as U.S.-raised blue crab.

The vice president of a Virginia seafood company pleaded guilty in federal court this week to taking part in this weighty scam. According to a release from the Department of Justice, Michael P. Casey of Casey’s

Seafood admitted to conspiring with others within the company to falsely label imported crab meat and re-sell it to grocery stores and retailers.

All in all, the crabmeat involved in the five-year-long bait-and-switch amounted to a wholesale value of $4.3 million.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said the scam violated the Lacey Act, which prohibits the import, export or sale of fish plants or wildlife that have been possessed or acquired in ways that violated state or federal law.

It also violated the trust of the local seafood industry.

“This fraud causes real financial harm to the fragile maritime economies here in the region, and ~ and women who have worked this estuary for generations,” Terwilliger said.

The Justice Department noted a significant blue crab decline beginning in 2010 … Read more.