The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed a lawsuit against a Michigan dairy farmer for allegedly stealing millions of federal funds to grow and feed the nation’s fish.
The case stems from a 2014 lawsuit that accused Joe Schulz, of the Moxie Dairy in Michigan, of illegally selling fish from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and selling the fish to other farmers in the state.
The lawsuit alleged that Schulz illegally bought and sold about 3 million pounds of fish annually between 2015 and 2017.
Schulz is currently serving a 90-day sentence in a Michigan jail.
The Department of Justice and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have both confirmed the suit.
“In a lawsuit brought by farmers and ranchers against Joe Schulski, who allegedly purchased and sold millions of pounds of live fish from federal lands, the government alleged that Joe Schulzes unlawful purchase of fish illegally sold millions to farmers and ranches in the United States and abroad,” said a press release from the USDA’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
“This action will ensure that no money or other property is diverted from the agency to facilitate Joe Schuler’s unlawful activities and that all federal lands in the U, S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico are protected for the health and welfare of our fish, wildlife, and plants.”
The suit was filed last week and seeks a permanent injunction to block Schulz from continuing to grow, sell, and purchase fish and other aquatic life on federal land.
In addition to the $3 million in damages, the plaintiffs also seek an injunction to prevent the federal government from interfering with or discharging any liability for damages caused by the actions of Schulz.
According to the lawsuit, Schulz violated several of the federal statutes in connection with his alleged conduct.
“The government’s conduct, which is illegal under the Fish and Livestock Act, is the proximate cause of this suit,” said the FWS press release.
“It is a direct and proximate consequence of the defendants’ conduct that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit is being brought.
The government’s actions have violated the Constitution, the laws of the United State, and the law of the District of Columbia.”
Schulz also faces civil contempt charges.
“Under federal law, the FWC cannot be held liable for acts of any other federal agency or official,” the FSWS said.
The complaint was filed on September 25 in U. S. District Court for the District Of Columbia.
“I want to apologize to all my customers for my behavior,” Schulz said in a statement to Reuters.
“This has cost us our jobs and the money that we’ve earned.
It’s been a terrible experience and has made us realize that fish are important to the future of our country.
It is time to take the right steps to restore our fish farm.”
Schulze was named a recipient of the prestigious “National Merit Award” by the USDA in 2012.
The award was awarded to the nation and to an individual for “exceptional service to the U.” in the field of food and agriculture.
“We are grateful for the support and support from all of you who stand with us in our fight against the illegal practices of Joe Schuluzes,” the USDA said in the award.
“Our government is working to eliminate fraud and waste, and we encourage all of our farmers, rancher, and fishery partners to use all legal channels available to protect their property and employees.”
A representative for the M.D.N., Joe Schaulz, told Reuters that the lawsuit was filed in federal court.
“There is a lot of money involved, and it’s very serious,” he said.
“These are not criminal allegations, and that’s why it’s being handled by federal prosecutors.”
Schuler told Reuters earlier this month that he will continue to operate the Moxy Dairy and produce his own fish.
“My customers will always be happy that they have access to their fish and they’re happy they have a healthy fish farm,” he told Reuters.
Schulks attorney, Robert O’Brien, told ABC News that the allegations were unfounded.
“Every single person in the world who has an opinion about Joe Schutz is wrong,” he continued.
“Joe Schulzi is a good man.
He is an honest man.
There is nothing in this lawsuit that is even remotely credible or relevant to his conduct.”