Owner of shuttered Basic Fisheries indicted for tax fraud

By Andrea Ray | Jul 17, 2017
John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse

Marion — The former owner of Basic Fisheries in Marion was indicted last week for failing to file tax returns and filing a false tax return, after he did not report earning millions of dollars while running the business.

George Estudante, 57, was arrested on July 11 and indicted on July 13. He was the sole owner of Basic Fisheries, a seafood wholesaler, which was located at 19 Gifford's Corner Road in Marion, between 2009 and 2014. He now lives in Virginia.

In 2010, according to the court documents, Basic Fisheries received $1.4 million in purchase payments. In 2011, the company received approximately $1.6 million in purchase payments.

Estudante did not report any of the approximately $3 million in receipts between 2010 and 2011 to the Internal Revenue Service, according to court documents. He had previously filed taxes in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and filed taxes in 2012 and 2013.

However, in 2012, according to court documents, Estudante reported only $533,078 of the $744,461 in Basic Fisheries receipts that were deposited into his bank account -- he failed to report approximately $211,383.

This is not Estudante's first brush with the law. He pleaded guilty to submitting false reports to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2014, in Baltimore. Estudante had violated the Lacey Act, which prohibits trade in wildlife, fish and plants which have been illegally taken or sold.

An investigation by NOAA determined that in 2009, on 13 separate occasions, Estudante purchased scallops that were in excess of the federally permitted vessels’ legal landing limit of 400 pounds. Estudante had on each occasion purchased at least 750 pounds of scallops. He had purchased the legal limit amount of 400 pounds with a check, and paid for the extra in cash, according to NOAA.

Estudante was sentenced to two months incarceration, followed by six months of house arrest, three years of supervised probation, and 100 hours of community service. It is unclear if he served the entire sentence.

He will be arraigned on the latest charges at the John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston on Wednesday.

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