Sunday, February 17

Fishing Boat Captain Sentenced for Interfering with Coast Guard in “Codfather” Case

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The Codfather saga continues. A federal court in Boston just convicted the former captain of a New Bedford, Massachusetts, fishing boat owned by Carlos Rafael, also known as The Codfather, for interfering with a Coast Guard inspection of the vessel.

When the Coast Guard boarded the vessel, the Bulldog, off the coast of Massachusetts two years ago for a routine inspection, the captain, Thomas D. Simpson, 57, of South Portland, Maine, ordered the crew to cut the ship’s net loose. As a result, the steel cables securing the net swung across the boat, endangering the boarding team. Simpson then continued to let the net out until it detached from the boat and sank. The Coast Guard and NOAA subsequently had to pay a salvage company $15,000 to retrieve the net from the ocean floor.

District Court Judge Indira Talwani sentenced Simpson to two years of probation, with the first four months to be served in home confinement, and ordered him to pay a $15,000 fine. He had already pleaded guilty to a count of destruction or removal of property subject to seizure and inspection.

A year ago a federal court in Boston sentenced Rafael, pictured above, to 46 months in prison on a variety of charges related to his fishing business. Rafael, 66, a Portuguese immigrant, owned one of the largest commercial fishing fleets in the U.S., with almost two dozen boats; he controlled almost a quarter of New England’s groundfish and scallops market.  In court, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy, tax evasion, smuggling cash and falsifying records.

Rafael’s downfall began when he tried to sell his business, for $175 million, to people who said they were Russian mobsters. He showed them his doctored books and told them, “You’ll never find a better laundromat.” They actually were IRS agents. Read more:



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