Arnold Bengis, described as a modern-day pirate, is the face of fishery crime.
He’s already served a five-year federal prison sentence for stealing massive amounts of rock lobster from South African waters and importing it to the United States. Now, a federal judge wants the former Long Island resident and two co-conspirators to fork over another $22.5 million in restitution to the South Africans on top of $7 million already collected in a separate criminal case.
The illegal fishing and fraud he engaged in is part of a global black market valued by experts at up to $23 billion.
It’s exactly what the Obama administration targeted on Sunday in announcing a new plan to stop seafood crime. The plan includes an ambitious system that aims to track every wild fish and crustacean from where it is caught to where it is shipped in the United States.
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