News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, May 22, 2009

This Week in Crime: Something's Fishy in Reston

charlie.jpg.jpegThe wheels of justice turn slowly, especially in the nefarious false-fish-labelling racket. Nearly six months after being found guilty of marketing mislabeled fish fillets, pretending that some imported fish called "Pangasius hypothamlus" was, in fact, "flounder," a Reston man has been sentenced to probation for his role in the tasty caper.

A Virginia man has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for importing and mislabeling frozen Vietnamese catfish as flounder and other fish to avoid U.S. import tariffs.

District Judge Philip Gutierrez also on Monday ordered Peter Xuong Lam of Fairfax, Va., to pay $12 million to the government as reimbursement of the tariffs. A second man, Arthur Yavelberg of Reston, Va., was sentenced to probation for his role in the scheme.

U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien says companies operated by Lam and Yavelberg imported $15.5 million worth of catfish that was illegally labeled and imported as sole, grouper, flounder, snakehead, channa and conger pike.
Mmmmm... conger pike. Anyhoo, the jury had convicted Yavelberg of marketing the fillets without necessarily knowing they had been mislabeled. As we said then, perhaps labeling the fish "The Best of Lake Anne" was the dead giveaway.

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