Florida Seafood Company Sentenced in Federal Court for Violating the Lacey Act for Falsely Labeling Salmon
UpRiver Aquaculture, Inc., a/k/a “MKG Provisions, Inc. (MKG),” a Florida seafood company, located in Miami, Florida, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Federico A. Moreno for falsely labeling salmon, in violation of the Lacey Act.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Tracy Dunn, Assistant Director, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Law Enforcement (OLE), made the announcement.
MKG previously pled guilty to a single count information, which charged the company with violating the Lacey Act by falsely labeling 286 cases of Chilean-imported farmed salmon as a “product of Scotland,” in violation of Title 16, United States Code, Sections 3372(d)(1) and 3373(d)(3)(A). The falsely labeling of fish, and other wildlife, is prohibited under the Lacey Act, 16 U.S.C. § 3372(d)(1). The Lacey Act, in pertinent part, makes it unlawful for a person to falsely identify any fish that has been, or is intended to be, imported, sold, purchased, or received from any foreign country or transported in interstate or foreign commerce. MKG was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine. At sentencing, the court advised MKG’s General Manager, who appeared as the representative of the defendant, that the probationary period would also serve to provide oversight of the company’s implementation of a government-required compliance plan to prevent a recurrence of the offense.
According to court documents and information presented during the sentencing hearing in approximately December 2012, MKG received a shipment of approximately 286 cases of salmon at its Miami facility. The shipment was accurately identified in applicable business and importation related records supplied to MKG, as well as records generated internally by MKG, as a product of Chile and originating from Chile. MKG, acting through its employees and in connection with its business relationship with a client, St. James Smokehouse, Inc., processed, smoked, and repackaged the salmon into bags provided to MKG by St. James Smokehouse which identified the salmon as a product of Scotland. The falsely labeled salmon was intended for wholesale distribution and sale by St. James Smokehouse and was eventually sold to consumers through various retailers to which St. James Smokehouse had sold the salmon.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Outerbridge.