The owner of a Newport News seafood business was charged today by criminal information with conspiring to commit Lacey Act violations for blending foreign crab meat with Atlantic blue crab meat, then labeling the blended crab meat as “Product of USA”.
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”.
Casey has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, if convicted. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.