DEC: Francesco's owner sold fish illegally

Francesco's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria on John Street Francesco's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria on John Street in Babylon is shown. (August 2012) Photo Credit: Google

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A Babylon business owner faces charges he illegally sold striped bass from his restaurant, state Department of Conservation officials said.

Frank Genovas, 53, was found to be in possession of 60 pounds of untagged striped bass worth more than $600 after conservation officers conducted an investigation of his restaurant, Francesco's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, on Oct. 16, according to a news release Friday.

Based on a tip that Genovas was selling the fish illegally, the officers set up surveillance and confiscated the fish, which was donated to Long Island Cares, a nonprofit and food bank in Hauppauge.

The release said that officers saw an employee bring a large striped bass into the restaurant on John Street. After inspecting the restaurant, officers found three untagged striped bass in a cooler and 23 pounds of fillets in portion sizes in a separate cooler.

Officers also interviewed "Genovas and employees regarding the origins of the fish and also noted the night's special entree was locally caught bass," the release said.

An employee who answered the phone yesterday afternoon at the restaurant said Genovas was too busy to take calls.

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Genovas, of Babylon, was cited with four misdemeanor-level commercialization charges including possessing untagged striped bass; taking striped bass without a commercial permit; failing to have a food fish license; and possessing striped bass fillets in a retail establishment without maintaining the associated fish carcass.

Each charge carries a penalty of up to $5,000 and up to 1 year in jail.

Genovas is scheduled to appear in First District Court in Islip on Dec. 11, officials said.

With Ellen Yan

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