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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 22, 2014

South Jersey Man Sentenced to Six Hours in Jail for Shooting Four Species of Protected Hawks in his Residential Neighborhood

NEWARK, N.J. - A Somers Point, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to six hours in jail for killing, or attempting to kill, four different species of hawks protected by federal law, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Robert Losasso, 70, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion to six counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty act for shooting the birds from his home. Judge Mannion imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Losasso admitted that he fatally shot or attempted to shoot red-tailed, sharp-shinned, red-shouldered and Cooper’s hawks on several occasions. These species are among the tens of thousands of birds of prey that migrate every year from Canada along the Atlantic Flyway through New Jersey.  Losasso also admitted that he didn’t have any permit to shoot the birds.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is a statute that was enacted in 1918 and implements in the United States protections afforded migratory birds under several international conventions to which the United States is a party. Breeding populations of red-shouldered hawks are listed as endangered on the State of New Jersey’s Endangered and Threatened Wildlife list. Sharp-shinned hawks and populations of Cooper’s hawks also have special protections under New Jersey state law.

In addition to the incarceration, which will be served Jan. 5, 2015, Judge Mannion sentenced Losasso to 18 months of supervised release, during which time he may not possess any firearms. He must also pay a total of $4,350 in restitution to four wildlife rehabilitation facilities and perform 60 hours of community service at a wildlife facility.

In his plea agreement, Losasso must also pay more than $4,000 in restitution to the wildlife rehabilitation centers that incurred losses treating or euthanizing hawks injured as a result of his conduct.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Carmine Sabia, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked the N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Law Enforcement, and the Somers Point Police Department for their roles in the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen P. O’Leary of the U.S. Attorney's Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark.

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Defense counsel: Linda Foster Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark
Component(s): 
Updated March 26, 2015