A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of New York charged a fisherman and his dealer with multiple counts of conspiracy, fraud, and obstruction on Wednesday.
Christopher Winkler, 61, Bryan Gosman, 48, Asa Gosman, 45, and the Bob Gosman Co. Inc. of Montauk, NY, were indicted with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and obstruction in connection with a plot to illegally over-harvest fluke and black sea bass, according to the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs.
According to the indictment, between May 2014 and July 2016, the fishing captain Winkler went on about 70 fishing excursions where he caught fluke or black sea bass in excess of federal fishing quotas set by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The fish was then sold to a now-inoperative company in the Bronx where Asa Gosman and Bryan Gosman both held an ownership stake.
After the company went insolvent, Winkler sold some of his illegal catch directly to Bob Gosman Co. Inc., the Montauk fish dealer where Asa Gosman and Bryan Gosman both operated as managers, according to the Justice Department.
According to the report, at least 74,000 pounds of fluke were overexploited, and the excess supply of fish of all the species was valued at approximately $250,000 wholesale. (RELATED: Justice Department Announces Wide-Ranging Investigation Into Minneapolis Police Department After Chauvin Conviction)
The defendants then proceeded to falsify federal forms required by the NOAA to ensure adherence to the quotas in order to cover up the over-harvesting scheme, the report reveals.
In addition, Asa Gosman, Bryan Gosman, and Bob Gosman Co. Inc. were also charged with obstructing the investigation by withholding pertinent documents and forms requested by the federal grand jury.