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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

Florida Man Steals $500k Worth Of Crab


The Department of Homeland Security arrested a man who impersonated a Safeway agent in order to make off with $500k in Russian king crab. The man is facing federal charges for attempting to transport stolen property across state lines. Federal authorities accuse the man of placing fake purchase orders that were never paid and then making off with the goods. The alleged thief sold some of the crab to a company before being stopped at a weigh station. The man was previously arrested in Florida for DUI with property damage. At the time, the defendant had booked a one-way ticket to Columbia but was nabbed before he made his flight.

He will now face charges related to the theft of $500,000 in stolen goods. The defendant had no known ties to Columbia and prosecutors believe the effort was to evade prosecution.

Analyzing potential charges 

Theft of goods is a crime that is charged by the federal government in certain situations under legislation called the Hobbs Act. The legislation makes it possible for federal authorities to file charges related to the disruption of interstate commerce. It ultimately allows federal authorities the power and authority to make multi-state arrests across multiple jurisdictions for crimes that impact interstate commerce. Similar charges have been filed against individuals who hijack UPS and FedEx trucks.

Further, the man is accused of impersonating an official government agent. That is also a crime. The theft itself is a crime, and often, the number of years you spend behind bars is directly related to the sum value of the goods stolen. In this case, $500,000 in goods were stolen which will jack up the defendant’s sentence very quickly. So, ultimately, with a client like this, you’re fighting two charges. The first charge is related to impersonating an official government officer. The second is related to the theft.

Analyzing potential defenses 

Ultimately, we’re talking about a payment that never went through. So, a criminal defense attorney would simply assume that the prosecution is mistaken, and the client was under the impression that the payment had been made. However, if you lock yourself into that defense, and the prosecution can present evidence that it’s false, then your defense is largely over. But if there’s any reason to believe that the defendant could have rationally believed that the payment had been made, then the defense attorney can claim this was all a big misunderstanding.

So, why does the guy book a flight to Columbia? Well, he wasn’t supposed to be driving if he had an active DUI. If he had a CDL, his license would have been suspended. So, maybe he was avoiding the consequences of that and not a theft.

Talk to a Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Today

 Facing federal charges? Call the Tampa criminal lawyers at The Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.


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