An Oregon man will pay $100,000 in an illegal halibut-fishing case that featured testimony from Arne Fuglvog, a former fisheries aide to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, federal officials announced Thursday.
U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler’s office says U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland has sentenced 47-year-old Freddie Joe Hankins of Core, Ore. to pay a $25,000 fine, as well as a community service payment of $75,000. Earlier this year, Hankins was convicted of two federal counts of falsely reporting where he caught fish in Alaska.
In addition to the payments, Hankins will also serve three years of probation with an electronic vessel monitoring system tracking all of his fishing activities, and run a statement in the National Fisherman magazine acknowledging his wrongdoing.
The case relates to 31,000 pounds of halibut caught by Hankins and sold in Kodiak in 2007, which Hankins took in an illegal area and falsely claimed to have caught in legal waters. Fuglvog, who was sentenced Feb. 7 to five months in federal prison and $150,000 in payments after pleading guilty to falsely reporting where he caught sablefish, said Hankins also had a record of false reports.
“(Fuglvog) testified at the Hankins trial that he had fished with Hankins, and that Hankins had previously made similar false landing reports claiming he caught his fish in the more distant but legal area when in fact he caught them in the area closer to port where the fishing was better but where it was illegal for him to fish,” prosecutors wrote in a Thursday statement on the case.
Hankins had also been convicted of false reporting during a 2007 state case, for exceeding an allowable by-catch of rockfish but covering up that fact in a landing report.
Holland reportedly had harsh words for Hankins as he was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage.
“When sentencing Hankins, Judge Holland found that Hankins had knowingly testified falsely at his trial when he denied he falsified the landing reports, and that this testimony amounted to perjury,” prosecutors wrote. “(Holland) found further that Hankins was still ‘in a state of denial’ about having committed the crimes for which the jury convicted him.”
Loeffler’s office thanked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement for its role in developing the case against Hankins.
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