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October 17, 2018

Lobster wholesaler’s $1.5M embezzlement lawsuit adds new defendants

A lawsuit by Saco-based lobster wholesaler Sea Salt, alleging that one of the business partners embezzled more than $1.5 million by shipping lobsters to a sham account and then reselling them, has moved to U.S. District Court in Portland.

The Portland Press Herald reported that the lawsuit originally filed in York County Superior Court moved this month to the federal court after adding additional defendants and expanding its scope to include alleged civil violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.

The newspaper reported that in addition to the original defendants — former Sea Coast business partner Matthew Bellerose of Scarborough and his alleged co-conspirator, Vincent J. Mastropasqua of Portland — the expanded lawsuit now names Bellerose's wife, Amanda; Mastropasqua's brother, Anthony; and the United Parcel Service, where Vincent Mastropasqua had worked at its store in Scarborough, as co-defendants.

A related case filed by Amanda Bellerose in U.S. District Court in Portland seeks to vacate or modify an attachment on her property filed by Sea Salt co-owners Morey Harbarger and Shawn McEwen.

"Ms. Bellerose has submitted her sworn testimony that she had absolutely no knowledge of the alleged theft, if it did occur," according to a court document filed on Oct. 9 by her attorneys John S. Whitman and Heidi J. Eddy. The plaintiff has failed to controvert this sworn testimony. There is no basis, therefore, for an unjust enrichment claim against Ms. Bellerose."

Read more

From napkin sketch to $20 million in sales: Owners of Sea Salt Lobster talk growth

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