By Tony Schinella
United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II of Maine announced last week that Robert Thompson, 53, of Rockwood, Maine, has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to federal income tax evasion and illegally selling lobster charges.
Court records reveal that between 2008 and 2011, Thompson was the dock manager for the Spruce Head Fisherman’s Co-op in South Thomaston, Maine. In that capacity, Thompson illegally bought lobsters from Co-op members for cash, rather than buying and selling those lobsters through the Co-op system. Thompson resold the lobsters he bought for cash to J.P.’s Shellfish, a seafood distributor in Eliot, Maine.
Thompson was not a licensed seafood dealer, making the sales to J.P.’s Shellfish illegal under Maine law. Under the federal Lacey Act, it is illegal to sell lobsters in violation of state law. Thompson also failed to report his profit from these side deals as income on his federal income tax return thus evading over $49,000 in income taxes.
Thompson faces up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine on the Lacey Act charge and up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the tax evasion charge. He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.
The charges are the result of a collaborative investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Law Enforcement; and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.