An Alaska fisherman who says he lost $4 million on a single sale at a small bait shop on the eastern edge of the state has become the latest victim of a similar scam in the country’s largest and most lucrative fishing industry.
Alaska Daily News reporter Jeff Pogue reports from a bait shop at Point Lookout near the northern entrance to the northern Gulf of Alaska.
(Jeff Pogue/Alaska Dispatch News)The man, who spoke to the newspaper through a pseudonym, said he purchased about $20 worth of bait from the Point Lookouts Bait Shop at about 2 p.m. on Dec. 1.
The fish was about 30 pounds, he said.
He said he was unsure of the size of the fish and what kind of bait he was buying, but he was confident it was caught with a proper hook.
But, about an hour later, the man’s wife returned to the bait shop with a $50 check.
She told the shop clerk she wanted the money back, but the man said the cashier refused.
The man said he then went back to his house and made a second purchase of about $50 worth of fishing gear from the shop at about 1:45 a.m., he said, but a few hours later he called the business to complain.
He said the shop employee said he would not refund the money and would charge the money to his credit card.
The salesman said he never gave the man any money.
He also said the man had lost a third of his money.
The owner of the bait store did not return a phone message left Friday morning by The Associated Press seeking comment.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game said the owner of Point LookOut is cooperating with the investigation.
The company’s owner has since been fired, according to a news release.
The owner of Alaskan Malamute has also been fired.
The state’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife has been alerted to the issue, and the Bureau of Land Management has been notified, Fish and Wildlife said.
The Department of Energy and Environment is also investigating, according the news release, and all businesses with fish and game sales are required to comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.