Biloxi Restaurant Served Fake Fresh Seafood for Years

Biloxi Restaurant Served Fake Fresh Seafood for Years
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A Biloxi insti­tu­tion, Mary Mahoney’s Old French House Restau­rant, admit­ted to defraud­ing cus­tomers by sell­ing import­ed, frozen fish as fresh, local seafood for over six years. The restau­rant agreed to for­feit $1.35 mil­lion to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment after plead­ing guilty to con­spir­a­cy and wire fraud charges.

Mis­la­beled Fish and Duped Diners

Between 2013 and 2019, Mary Mahoney’s pur­chased over 29 tons of fish from out­side the U.S., includ­ing species like lake perch and trig­ger­fish. These were then sold as pre­mi­um Gulf red snap­per and red­fish, mis­lead­ing cus­tomers who expect­ed fresh, local catches.

“This scheme allowed the restau­rant to prof­it by sell­ing seafood cus­tomers would­n’t have cho­sen if they knew the true ori­gin and species,” stat­ed pros­e­cu­tors from the South­ern Dis­trict of Mississippi.

FDA Raid and Legal Consequences

The scam was exposed in 2019 dur­ing a raid by the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA). Co-own­er Antho­ny “Tony” Cvi­tanovich plead­ed guilty to mis­la­bel­ing seafood and faces poten­tial impris­on­ment and fines.

Restau­rant Remains Open, Reviews Plummet

Despite the rev­e­la­tions, Mary Mahoney’s remains oper­a­tional. How­ev­er, recent cus­tomer reviews point to a decline in qual­i­ty, with com­plaints about bland, over­priced food.

Impor­tance of Prop­er Food Labeling

The FDA empha­sizes the seri­ous­ness of this case. U.S. Attor­ney Todd W. Gee stressed that “con­sumers deserve what they pay for” and that mis­la­bel­ing food is a crime. This case serves as a warn­ing to restau­rants and seafood sup­pli­ers to ensure accu­rate label­ing practices.

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