NEW YORK (AP) — A New York judge has ordered three men who pleaded guilty to smuggling South African rock lobsters to the U.S. to pay the South African government nearly $30 million in restitution.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Friday the $29.5 million is the largest sum ever ordered under the Lacey Act. That law makes it a crime to import illegally obtained fish, wildlife or plants.
Defendants Arnold Bengis, David Bengis and Jeffrey Noll will get credit for $7 million already paid in another case. The men were charged in 2003 with importing lobster harvested in violation of South African law and pleaded guilty the following year.