Sailfish killed: Crew pleads guilty to illegally harvesting sailfish
Saffan and Augusto could receive a maximum sentence of five years in prison per violation, plus $250,000 in criminal fines for each count. Each of the two corporations faces possible criminal fines of $500,000. Saffan has agreed to forfeit the smaller of the two Therapy boats, a 44-footer, to the government.
Saffan, Augusto and three other Therapy crewmembers -- Sean Lang, Brian Schick, and Ralph Pegram -- were indicted last summer by a federal grand jury on charges of catching and killing undersized sailfish and pressuring charter customers to pay to have them mounted by Gray Taxidermy in Pompano Beach. The fishermen also were charged with failing to obtain federal permits to land sailfish and failing to report those landings.
According to assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Watts-FitzGerald, charter customers were not told that the Therapy crews were receiving commissions from Gray for inducing anglers to sign mounting contracts. The prosecutor said customers also were not informed that the fish they caught could be released alive and replica mounts made without using actual fish parts. In one case, FitzGerald said, Saffan told a customer who wanted to cancel his mounting contract that the fish was already being processed at the Gray plant, even though it was never taken there.