Newport News seafood business owner charged in crab meat scam

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The owner of Casey’s Seafood, Inc. in Newport News was charged Friday with violating the Lacey Act for blending foreign crab meat with Atlantic blue crab meat.

The Department of Justice says 74-year-old James R. Casey is accused of replacing Atlantic blue crab meat with crab meat from Indonesia, China, Thailand, Vietnam and other foreign countries from July of 2012 to June of 2015.

Court documents say Casey and his co-conspirators falsely labelled nearly 400,000 pounds of crab meat as Atlantic blue crab meat and a “Product of the United States.”

Casey is also accused of directing employees to cover up labels on containers that said “Product of Brazil” and “Product of China” with labels that said “Product of the United States.”

He’s been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison if he is found guilty.

According to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Lacey Act prohibits trade or purchase of fish, wildlife or plants that are taken, possessed, transported or sold illegally.