John J. Halloran, Jr., P.C.

U.S. District Court Orders Payment of $22.5 million in Restitution to the Republic of South Africa in landmark Lacey Act case

On June 14, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York decided that defendants — subsequent to convictions for conspiracy to harvest rock lobsters and smuggle them into the United States in violation of the Lacey Act — must pay approximately $22.5 million to the Republic of South Africa. Read PDF »  This is the largest restitution order in a Lacey Act case in history.  The case was brought by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (Complex Frauds Unit).  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit had previously ruled that the Republic of South Africa possessed a property interest in rock lobsters unlawfully harvested from its waters, and is a victim for restitution purposes of the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act of 1996 (18 U.S.C. § 3663A) and the Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982 (18 U.S.C. § 3663).  See United States v. Bengis, 631 F.3d 33 (2d Cir. 2011) (Hall, C.J.), cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 2911 (2011).  The restitution order was entered by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who substantially adopted the Report and Recommendation of U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck (2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115500 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 16, 2012)). Judge Kaplan also restrained funds located in the Channel Islands to facilitate payment of restitution. Read PDF »

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