A man and his codfish
The indicted New Bedford fishing boss who federal agents say cooked the books to evade fishing quotas had teamed up with a local cop to smuggle tens of thousands of dollars out of the U.S. back to his homeland of Portugal, according to court documents.
Carlos Rafael, the 64-year-old owner of Carlos Seafood dubbed the “Codfather,” told undercover agents he also cheated export officials by giving the unnamed “local law enforcement officer” cash before entering security at Logan International Airport, an affidavit filed in the federal court case states.
The officer would take the cash through to the secured area of the airport, while Rafael would walk through security and did not have to claim he was transporting more than $10,000 in cash out of the country, according to the affidavit.
Federal authorities estimate Rafael allegedly carried $40,000 to $60,000 in cash this way every time he went to Portugal, where he was born.
Prosecutors allege Rafael used hundreds of thousands of smuggled dollars to “fix up” his parents’ home, buy his own home, buy a warehouse and a pleasure boat.
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Rafael and his bookkeeper, Debra Messier, 60, are accused of misclassifying fish caught by the company’s boats for years to evade federal fishing quotas by falsifying forms that track the quantity and type of fish they caught and sold.
A wholesaler in New York City paid for the fish with bags of cash that Rafael would call “a bag of jingles” — earning as much as $668,000 in six months, prosecutors said.
Court docs: ‘Codfather’ had local cop smuggle cash