Massachusetts

US fishing magnate dubbed 'The Codfather' set to change plea

A leading U.S. fishing magnate known as "The Codfather" is scheduled to plead guilty to federal charges of evading fishing quotas and smuggling money to Portugal.

The U.S. attorney's office says Carlos Rafael has a change of plea hearing scheduled for Thursday.

Rafael is the owner of one of the nation's largest commercial fishing operations. It includes a fleet of more than 30 vessels, 44 commercial fishing permits and the Carlos Seafood business in New Bedford.

Federal authorities say Rafael falsely claimed his vessels caught haddock or pollock, when they had actually caught other species subject to stricter quotas. He then sold the fish for cash, some of which was smuggled overseas.

He was indicted on 27 counts last May and is free on $2 million bond.