Sterling Seafood Sold Mislabeled Fish: CEO Thomas George Pleads Guilty To Using False Labels

03/22/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

NEWARK, N.J. — The former chief executive of a New Jersey-based seafood importing business has admitted falsely labeling fish from Vietnam to evade more than $60 million in federal tariffs.

Sixty-one-year-old Thomas George of Old Tappan, former CEO of Cresskill-based Sterling Seafood Corp., pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Newark.

George said worked with a company based in Vietnam to import farm-raised catfish and falsely identified the fish as grouper. It was sold in fish markets and restaurants up and down the East Coast.

The U.S. imposes tariffs on Vietnamese catfish in order to protect American catfish growers.

George pleaded guilty to importing falsely labeled goods and selling misbranded fish.

He faces up to five years in prison.