Owner of Fishing Business Faces Federal Charges

The owner of a commercial fishing business in Massachusetts and his bookkeeper are charged with conspiracy and submitting falsified records to the federal government to evade fishing quotas.

Carlos A. Rafael, 64, and Debra Messier, 60, both of Dartmouth, are charged in a criminal complaint. 

According to court documents, Rafael owns Carlos Seafood, Inc. in New Bedford. The complaint alleges that for years, Rafael, with the help from Messier, lied to federal authorities about the quantity and species of fish his boats caught. 

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The charges arose out of an undercover investigation in which federal agents posed as organized crime figures interested in buying the fishing business. 

After submitting false records to federal regulators, Rafael sold the fish to a business in New York City in exchange for bags of cash. 

Rafael and Messier are both set to appear in U.S. District Court in Boston Friday afternoon.

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