US: $30M in restitution owed in lobster smuggling

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Associated Press

Posted on June 14, 2013 at 9:07 PM

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.

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