The owner of a seafood company in Virginia has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the federal government by mixing foreign crab meat with Atlantic blue crab, then labeling the blended seafood and selling it to customers as a U.S. product.
James Casey, owner and president of Casey's Seafood, based in Newport News, was charged Friday with violating the Lacey Act, a law that prohibits trafficking in illegal wildlife.
Casey, 74, is accused of conspiring to replace Atlantic blue crab with crab meat from Indonesia, China, Thailand, Vietnam and Central and South America.
Court documents filed Friday allege that Casey and unnamed co-conspirators are accused of falsely labelling nearly 400,000 pounds of crab meat worth millions of dollars as a "product of USA."
Casey allegedly directed employees to place "product of the USA" labels over labels that said "product of Brazil" and "product of China."
Casey's lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
If convicted, Casey faces a maximum of five years in prison.
Andrea Swalec contributed reporting.