The Codfather gets nearly 4 years for evading fishing quotas

FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2014, file photo, Carlos Rafael talks on the phone at Homer's Wharf near his herring boat F/V Voyager in New Bedford, Mass. The U.S. fishing magnate known as "The Codfather" who pleaded guilty to evading fishing quotas and smuggling money to Portugal is set to be sentenced begining in Boston’s federal court on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. (John Sladewski/Standard Times via AP, File)

BOSTON (AP) — A U.S. fishing magnate known as The Codfather who pleaded guilty to evading fishing quotas and smuggling money to Portugal was sentenced on Monday to nearly four years in prison.

Carlos Rafael, who owns one of the nation’s largest commercial fishing operations, falsely claimed his vessels caught haddock or pollock when they had actually caught other species subject to stricter quotas, federal authorities said. He then sold the fish for cash, some of which was smuggled overseas.

Rafael pleaded guilty in March to false labeling and fish identification and tax evasion, among other charges. He was sentenced in federal court in Boston to 46 months behind bars, the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts tweeted.

Rafael’s fishing operation includes a fleet of more than 30 vessels, 44 commercial fishing permits and the Carlos Seafood business in New Bedford.

Prosecutors asked for more than four years in prison. Rafael’s attorneys sought two years of probation in community and home confinement.

An attorney for Rafael didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Monday. His attorneys said in court documents that he “accepts full responsibility for the crimes he committed.”