‘Codfather’ fraud plea hearing pushed back to end of the month

Federal agents outside a New Bedford building owned by fishing magnate Carlos Rafael in 2016. (WPRI/Scott Del Sole)

BOSTON (WPRI) — The hearing where a New Bedford fishing magnate is expected to plead guilty to federal fraud charges has been pushed back.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office had originally announced the hearing for Carlos Rafael would be held on March 16, but Wednesday, the day before that hearing would have been, they announced it was rescheduled for March 30 at 2:30 p.m.

Rafael is accused of lying to federal authorities for years about the quantity and species of fish his boats caught in order to evade federal fishing quotas — claiming it was all haddock, instead of other species that have stricter quotas.

Locally known as the “Codfather,” Rafael and his bookkeeper were arrested in February 2016 after an undercover federal sting.

Prosecutors say besides allegedly falsifying numbers regarding quotas, he’s also alleged to have sold fish for cash and smuggling that cash to his native Portugal through Boston’s Logan Airport.