A Jericho father and son and two of their food businesses were indicted on charges of labeling and selling squid as the more profitable octopus, federal authorities announced Wednesday.
Roy Tuccillo Sr., 58, and Roy Tuccillo Jr., 31, imported giant squid from Peru and sold it to groceries stores as octopus, according to the Justice Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which investigated the alleged mislabeling with help from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The two men and two of their Westbury food processing and distribution companies, Anchor Frozen Foods Inc. and Advanced Frozen Foods, fraudulently imported, processed, marketed, sold and distributed more than 113,000 pounds of squid labeled as octopus during a period of three years or so, authorities said.
The four defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and violate the Lacey Act, which governs the possession, transport and sale of fish, wildlife and plants. The defendants were also charged with four counts of defrauding grocery stores in New Jersey and Massachusetts, Justice officials said.
The Tuccillos, their companies and their attorneys could not be immediately reached Wednesday night.
Octopus and squid are distinct species of marine life, but octopus in general has a greater retail price, federal officials said. The Lacey Act bars false descriptions of wildlife transported and sold in interstate commerce.