Florida Commercial Fisherman Pleads Guilty to False Statements
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Otha Easley, Acting Special Agent in Charge, NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, Southeast Division, and Major Jeff Hubert, Regional Commander, South A Region, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), announced that Jason Cardinale, 41, pled guilty today to one count of making false statements to the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. Sentencing has been scheduled for April 4, 2013 before U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks.
According to the allegations in the indictment and statements made in court, from about January 15, 2010 through February 24, 2012, Cardinale submitted false No Fishing Activity Reports to the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center, potentially compromising the management of fisheries under NOAA’s jurisdiction.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to do its part to help protect our fragile eco-system, including our fisheries.”
“Falsely reporting data leaves fishery scientists with an incomplete picture of what is truly happening on the water, which can ultimately lead the entire industry to shorter seasons and weaker fish populations,” said Dr. Bonnie Ponwith, Director for NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center. “We applaud those who understand the integral role they play in an effective fishery management process by taking the time to supply high-quality, timely data.”
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of NOAA Office of Law Enforcement and FWC. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman O. Hemming, III.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.