Feds bust Boca man for illegally taking, then shipping, Florida Keys lobster

A Boca Raton man pleaded not guilty in federal court in Key West Friday to taking, possessing, transporting and selling Florida Keys spiny lobster in violation of federal law.

Eric Burman, 60, faces a possible sentence of up to five years in prison, supervised release of up to three years and a fine of up to $250,000.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Burman was president and the sole director of a Florida corporation with its principal place of business in Pompano Beach. Burman, through the business, "was engaged in the wholesale commercial seafood industry, including the export of live Florida spiny lobster to the seafood market in China."

The feds say that in August and September 2010, Burman and "others" purchased spiny lobster from harvesters in Monroe County without creating and providing to the harvesters and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission trip tickets reflecting the transaction.

Thereafter, a co-conspirator of Burman "caused the lobster to be transported to the corporate business premises in Pompano Beach for packing and shipping in foreign commerce."

The lobster would ultimately be transported from the business in Pompano Beach to a commercial airfreight carrier at Miami International Airport for export from the United States to Hong Kong, China.