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United States v. Joseph Jensen, et al.

Docket Number
2:22-CR-00013, 14

On December 21, 2023, a court sentenced Joseph Jensen to pay a $4,250 fine, and complete a two-year term of probation to include six months’  home detention. Jensen also was ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution  to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Fish Hatchery System. The court sentenced his father, Robert Jenson, in December to similar terms, except he will pay $211, 578 in restitution. The defendants pleaded guilty to making and submitting (and causing to be submitted) false records with respect to fish in violation of the Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. §§ 3372(d)(2), 3373(d)(3)(A)(ii), (d)(3)(B)).

The Jensens are enrolled members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe, who commercially fish Lake Michigan pursuant to licenses issued by their tribe. James and Michael Hermes are non-tribal fish wholesalers doing business as Garden Bay Fisheries, located in Michigan’ s Upper Peninsula. During 2017, the Jensens repeatedly harvested lake trout in excess of established daily trip limits. These fish were purchased by Big Bay de Noc Fisheries (the predecessor to Garden Bay Fisheries), which sold them in interstate commerce. To conceal the illegal nature of the fish, Robert Jensen falsified monthly catch reports filed with the tribe, and Big Bay de Noc Fisheries, with assistance from Joseph Jensen, falsified wholesale reports filed with the State of Michigan.

The court previously sentenced James and Michael Hermes, along with their company Garden Bay Fisheries, for selling illegally possessed fish in interstate commerce and making and submitting false records in violation of the Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. §§ 3372(d)(2), 3373(d)(2)). The three defendants are jointly and severally responsible for $180,000 in restitution to be paid to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Fish Hatchery System (with James and Michael Hermes each paying $90,000), of which $135,000 was paid at the time of sentencing. All three defendants also paid $8,500 in fines. The company will complete a four-year term of probation. James and Michael Hermes will each complete two-year terms of probation to include six-months’  home confinement.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement conducted the investigation, with assistance from the Michigan and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources.

Case Open Date
Case Name
United States v. Joseph Jensen, et al.
Case Type
Updated January 10, 2024