A Montauk-based commercial fisherman is facing additional federal charges for his role in the alleged coverup of over-harvested fish after authorities said the fraud was more than triple than first thought.
A federal grand jury had indicted Christopher Winkler on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, to obstruct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the falsification of fishing logs, and to unlawfully frustrate NOAA’s efforts at regulating federal fisheries. In a superceding indictment, he was accused of illegally harvesting $850,000 worth of fish. He was initially charged with $240,000 worth of fish fraud.
His co-defendants, Bryan Gosman, Asa Gosman, pleaded guilty at Central Islip federal court in November to one felony count each of criminal conspiracy, and Bob Gosman Co. Inc., the federally licensed fish dealer also located in Montauk that they partially own, pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor Lacey Act Fish Trafficking.
The 61-year-old fishing captain Christopher Winkler, is going to trail after pleading not guilty to the charges. Federal prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York said Winkler, the captain of the boat New Age, went on more than 200 fishing trips in which he caught more fluke or black sea bass than allowed by federal quotas. He then allegedly sold the fish to a now-defunct company and an unindicted co-conspirator, who investigators did not name, in the New Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx.
His attorney could not be reached.