Local Businesses Plead Guilty Federal Fish Scam Charges

Individual and panhandle businesses entered guilty pleas Friday to illegally importing and selling of over one million pounds of falsely labeled catfish.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Danny D. Nguyen, Panhandle Trading, Inc., and Panhandle Seafood, Inc. entered guilty pleas to participating in a conspiracy to import and market fraudulently labeled Vietnamese catfish and participating in a conspiracy to launder the proceeds of the scheme.

Danny D. Nguyen faces up to 25 years in federal prison and fines totaling $750,000. Nguyen also agreed to forfeit all of the fish involved in the conspiracy and the business premises of Panhandle Seafood, Inc., located at 3014 East 1st Street, Panama City.

The corporations face fines totaling at least $1,000,000, and they also agreed to forfeit the business premises of Panhandle Seafood, Inc. and the million pounds of fish involved in the scheme.

Earlier court records outlined the scheme from May of 2002 to April of 2005 where shipments of frozen Vietnamese catfish were shipped and sold as grouper.