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Case Number: 2:18-cr-00522-SJF-SIL
Judge: Sandra J. Feuerstein
Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Suffolk County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Ryan Connors and David Kehoe
Call 918-582-6422 if you need help finding a criminal defense lawyer in Central Islip or Mineola, New York for conspiracy or Lacey Act charges.
Description: Central Islip, NY - The United States of America charged Roy Tuccillo, Roy Tuccillo, Jr. and Anchor Frozen Foods, Inc. with conspiracy and false labeling in violation of the Lacey Act.
Two Long Island, New York, corporations and their owners pleaded guilty today in federal court for their scheme to falsely-label seafood that they later sold across the country.
In a plea agreement with the government, Roy Tuccillo Sr, 59, and his son, Roy Tuccillo Jr, 32, both of Jericho, New York, and two of their Westbury, New York, food processing and distribution companies, Anchor Frozen Foods Inc, and Advanced Frozen Foods Inc, pleaded to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They admitted to importing giant squid from Peru, marketing it as octopus, and using e-mail and wire transactions to sell it to grocery stores in interstate commerce.
“Seafood fraud is illegal, undermines confidence in the market place, and can have serious consequences for fish, fishermen, the seafood industry and consumers,” said James Landon, Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Law Enforcement. “NOAA’s enforcement priorities include uncovering and investigating incidents of seafood fraud, and we will seek to continue to bring to justice those who engage in this illegal activity.”
Octopus and squid are distinct species of fish with great variance in their taxonomy, habitat, and physical characteristics. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires food companies selling squid to market it by its name or as calamari, while octopus is the only acceptable name when selling octopus. In general, octopus has a greater retail price than squid.
From 2011 to 2014, the defendants imported, processed, marketed, sold, and distributed over 113,000 pounds of squid worth $1.1 million that they had falsely labeled as octopus. The defendants admitted to defrauding over ten grocery stores that in turn sold the product to consumers. The Lacey Act prohibits submitting false descriptions of fish that were transported and sold in interstate commerce.
The maximum sentence for Tuccillo Sr and Tuccillo Jr is five years imprisonment, three years of post-release supervision and a fine up to $250,000. The corporations may be placed on five years of probation and pay a fine up to $500,000. Any fine may be adjusted to twice the pecuniary loss or gain.
The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement investigated this case with assistance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
16:3372(d)(2) and 3373(d)(3)(A)(ii); 18:2 LACEY ACT FALSE LABELING
Outcome: 09/16/2019 25 Minute Entry for proceedings held on 9/16/2019 before Judge Sandra J. Feuerstein: Criminal Cause for Status Conference as to Anchor Frozen Foods, Inc., Advanced Frozen Foods, Inc., Roy Tuccillo Sr., and Roy Tuccillo Jr. Counsel for Anchor Frozen Foods, Inc: J. Conway, retained. Counsel for Advanced Frozen Foods, Inc: R. Langone, retained. Counsel for Roy Tuccillo Sr.: J. Conway, retained. Counsel for Roy Tuccillo Jr.: R. Langone, retained. AUSA: Ryan Connors. Case called. Defendants appear with counsel. Jury selection set for 2/18/2020 at 10AM before Judge Feuerstein. Trial scheduled for immediately following the selection. Speedy Trial Info for defendants, still in effect. Code Type: COMPLEX. Start: 9/16/2019 - Stop: 2/18/2020. In the interest of justice as stated on the record, and with consent of the parties. Case is referred to the assigned magistrate judge for a report and recommendation on counsels' submitted figures. (Tirado, Chelsea) Modified on 9/25/2019 to correct a typographical error (Tirado, Chelsea). (Entered: 09/25/2019)