The 54-year-old owner of a seafood processing company has been arrested in Baton Rouge on charges that he failed to report thousands of pounds of seafood bought by his company. He is suspected of committing several felonies, including filing a false public record and injuring the public record. An investigation by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries concluded that the suspect did not report numerous purchase records between January and July 2011.
Police records show that the owner had faced similar charges earlier in Saint Tammany Parish. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in that case. A Wildlife and Fisheries official stated that the present charges are related to the previous allegations.
Louisiana mandates that anyone who purchases commercial seafood is responsible for maintaining three years of records at their office. Wildlife and Fisheries can audit these records at any time. Wildlife and Fisheries officers could not find the records in the suspect's office, despite repeated visits. Hence, Wildlife and Fisheries agents filed charges against the suspect and arrested him. He was released on bail the same day.
The suspect has been charged with 18 counts of filing false public records and 18 counts of injuries to public record. These charges may result in a sentence of five years in prison or a $5,000 fine for every felony count.
Whatever the circumstances, any criminal conviction can have long-term consequences. Therefore, it is essential to act quickly in order to adequately prepare a criminal defense before going to trial. Suspects should explore legal options that could help them develop strategies and procedural methods that could be advantageous in dismissing the case, reducing the charges or getting a favorable plea deal.
Source: nola.com, "Slidell seafood processor arrested, accused of not reporting purchases from commercial fishers," Heather Nolan, Oct. 30, 2012