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Former Seafood Processor Owner Gets Prison for Tax Evasion

He had been evading and obstructing the IRS since 2008.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated. In an initial press release from the US Department of Justice, Billie Schofield was identified as the owner of Northern Pelagic Group. It has come to our attention that Billie Schofield is the former owner and a former employee who was terminated as an employee more than six years ago, and was no longer an owner as of four years ago. 

On Jan. 8, Billie R. Schofield was sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion. For more than 10 years, the Rhode Island man attempted to evade his federal income taxes. 

According to the Department of Justice and additional sources, Schofield is a former owner and employee of Northern Pelagic Group LLC, a seafood processing business located on Fish Island in New Bedford, Massachusetts. 

In 2009, he stopped filing income tax returns and failed to pay taxes on hundreds of thousands of dollars in income. Between 2008 and 2018, Schofield obstructed IRS attempts to assess and collect his taxes by filing fraudulent forms, negotiating income checks to cash and submitting fraudulent checks to the IRS, among other efforts.

With penalties and interest, Schofield caused a tax loss of more than $350,000 to the U.S.

In addition to prison, Schofield received three years of supervised release, a $5,000 fine, and the court ordered him to pay $364,200.22 in restitution to the IRS. 

According to the company's website, NORPEL, now under new ownership, was established in 2002 and has become vertically integrated with a focus on Atlantic Herring, Atlantic Mackerel, Illex (shortfin) squid and Loligo Squid.

NORPEL has two fishing vessels, a state-of-the-art freezing facility, and is known globally for its seafood and custom processing services for food and pet food businesses across the globe.

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