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New York food processing and distribution companies and owners plead guilty to fraud

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | November 26, 2019
Anchor Frozen Foods, Advanced Frozen Foods corporations and their owners pleaded guilty in federal court for their scheme to falsely-label seafood that they later sold across the country.
Anchor Frozen Foods
Empire State   Anchor Frozen Foods
In a plea agreement with the government, Roy Tuccillo Sr and his son, Roy Tuccillo Jr, both of Jericho, New York, and two of their Westbury, New York, food processing and distribution companies, Anchor Frozen Foods Inc, and Advanced Frozen Foods Inc, pleaded to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Topics: New York food fraud

They admitted to importing giant squid from Peru, marketing it as octopus, and using e-mail and wire transactions to sell it to grocery stores in interstate commerce.

Octopus and squid are distinct species of fish with great variance in their taxonomy, habitat, and physical characteristics. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires food companies selling squid to market it by its name or as calamari, while octopus is the only acceptable name when selling octopus. In general, octopus has a greater retail price than squid.

From 2011 to 2014, the defendants imported, processed, marketed, sold, and distributed over 113,000 pounds of squid worth $1.1 million that they had falsely labeled as octopus.

The defendants admitted to defrauding over ten grocery stores that in turn sold the product to consumers. The Lacey Act prohibits submitting false descriptions of fish that were transported and sold in interstate commerce.

The maximum sentence for Tuccillo Sr and Tuccillo Jr is five years imprisonment, three years of post-release supervision and a fine up to $250,000. The corporations may be placed on five years of probation and pay a fine up to $500,000. Any fine may be adjusted to twice the pecuniary loss or gain.