Oregon Man sentenced for commercial fishing crimes
Anchorage, Alaska B U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that an Oregon man was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for two counts of falsely reporting where he caught 31,000 pounds of halibut that he sold in Kodiak in 2007.
Freddie Joe Hankins, 47, of Cove, Oregon, was sentenced on November 8, by U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland to fines totaling $25,000, a community service payment of $75,000, and three years of probation on condition that all his fishing activities be recorded by an on-board electronic Vessel Monitoring System. The sentence also requires Hankins to publish in the National Fisherman magazine a statement acknowledging his wrongdoing in this case.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Cooper, the evidence established that Hankins had caught the halibut in an area where it was illegal for him to fish under the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) system, and that he falsely stated in his landing reports that he caught the fish in another more distant but legal area. Arne Fuglvog, former fisheries aide to Lisa Murkowski, who served a prison term for his fisheries conviction, testified at the Hankins trial that he had fished with Hankins, and that Hankins had previously made similar false landing reports claiming he caught his fish in the more distant but legal area when in fact he caught them in the area closer to port where the fishing was better but where it was illegal for him to fish. Evidence also showed Hankins was convicted in state court in 2007 for falsifying a landing report to conceal the fact that he had exceeded the allowable by-catch of rockfish.
When sentencing Hankins, Judge Holland found that Hankins had knowingly testified falsely at his trial when he denied he falsified the landing reports, and that this testimony amounted to perjury. The Judge found further that Hankins was still “in a state of denial” about having committed the crimes for which the jury convicted him.Ms. Loeffler commends the Office of Law Enforcement of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the investigation of this case.