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Two members of Gosman family plead guilty in over-quota fish plot, court papers say

The U.S. Department of Justice indicted Montauk fisherman

The U.S. Department of Justice indicted Montauk fisherman Chris Winkler, captain of the New Age fishing trawler in Montauk, Bryan Gosman and Asa Gosman on federal charges of conspiring to illegally harvest and sell fish caught above legal limits. Credit: Newsday/Mark Harrington

Two members of the Gosman family pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count each of criminal conspiracy for their role, and that of their Montauk company, in an alleged plot to buy over-quota fish from a local trawler captain, federal prosecutors said.

Bryan and Asa Gosman pleaded guilty to the single conspiracy count following charges filed earlier this year that included conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and obstruction of justice. A Gosman family company, Bob Gosman Co. Inc., also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts as part of the plea.

A Montauk fisherman also named in the case, Christopher Winkler, has pleaded not guilty.

Lawyers for the Gosmans didn't return calls and emails seeking comment.

Peter Smith, a Northport attorney for Winkler, said the Montauk trawler-boat captain of the New Age "maintains his innocence." Smith said Winkler's legal team is "in the process of looking through tremendous volumes of data in discovery provided by the government." Smith was part of a team that won a non-prosecution agreement for another fishermen charged in the ongoing probe by federal prosecutors.

In April, a federal grand jury indicted Winkler and the Gosmans in connection with a scheme in which prosecutors said Winkler sold black sea bass and summer flounder caught during dozens of trips that exceeded federal fisheries quotas to the Gosmans.

Court papers filed Thursday say the Gosmans admitted the sale of illegal fish to two companies exceeding $240,000 in wholesale value.

Federal prosecutors say the Gosmans admitted the conspiracy involved falsified fishing and dealer reports to "cover up the fact that the fish were taken in excess of the quotas," according to the Justice Department.

Bob Gosman Co. will pay a fine of $50,000 and accept two years of probation as part of the plea, prosecutors said, while agreeing to enact an Environmental Compliance Plan.

The Gosmans will be sentenced at a future date.

Bob Gosman Co. is part of a larger family-owned operation, known as Gosman's Dock at Montauk Harbor in Montauk, that also includes a popular restaurant, seafood market and souvenir shops. None of those operations was named as part of the case.

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