Long Island fish dealer pleads guilty to underreporting fluke

Credit: Getty Images
The pair were charged with defrauding the government of 56,000 pounds of fluke reported at $116,000. Credit: Getty Images

defrauding the government of 56,000 pounds (25,000 kg) of overharvested and underreported fluke valued at $116,000

A Long Island fish dealer pleaded guilty in federal court in New York on Wednesday to falsifying records by underreporting the amount of fluke it handled, the U.S. Department of Justice said. 

Jones Inlet Seafood Co Inc of Point Lookout, its President Michael Mihale and Vice President Bruce Larson Jr. pleaded guilty in Central Islip federal court to underreporting the fish, also known as summer flounder, which was being harvested as part of a federal program.

Mihale and Larson directed “unwitting subordinates” to falsify and submit fisheries dealer reports from June 2009 through December 2011, defrauding the government of 56,000 pounds (25,000 kg) of overharvested and underreported fluke valued at $116,000, the Justice Department said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uses dealer report data to implement management measures aimed at ensuring sustainable fisheries, the Justice Department said. 

Mihale and Larson bought the illegal fluke from Anthony Joseph, the captain of a fishing vessel who was overharvesting the fish. Joseph pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme in April, according to the Justice Department.

Mihale and Larson pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of falsification of federal records. The company pleaded guilty to falsifying federal records and a count of false labeling in connection with approximately $100,000 worth of fluke that was shipped to customers in Connecticut and New Jersey, the Justice Department said.

As part of a plea deal, Mihale, Larson and Jones Inlet agreed to pay as much as $276,000 in fines and restitution. They also agreed to make a $30,000 community service payment to support fluke habitat through a Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County program, the Justice Department said.

Mihale and Larson could not immediately be reached for comment.


Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.


MAP: New York City street closures, September 19,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on September 19, 20 and 21. There will be many streets and…


MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…


NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…


'Outlander' Season 1, Episode 7: 'The Wedding'

Claire and Jamie are man and wife!!! Like, ALL THE WAY, if you know what we mean. (Twice.)


Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…


Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…


Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.


Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.


Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.


Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.


Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.


A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.


3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.


Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…


Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…