Pirate Poachers of the Chesapeake: Another Black Eye for Golden Eye Owner Robert Lumpkins
After being convicted in a federal rockfish sting resulting in his arrest in 2009, Robert Maurice Lumpkins might have decided to fish on the right side of the law.
According to Maryland Natural Resources Police what smelled fishy about a license transfer between watermen at Piney Point was cause for an investigation.
Now the investigation is complete and Lumpkins along with a Leonardtown Notary Public have been charged with criminal charges.
NRP reports that Lumpkins has been criminally charged with running a commercial fishing fraud scheme, the Maryland Natural Resources Police reported.
Robert Maurice Lumpkins, 62, of Piney Point, Md., owner of a seafood packing house, was charged on August 5, 2016 by NRP Officer Grice with perjury, false entry in a public record and theft between $10,000 and $100,000 for illegally obtaining the striped bass allocation of an ailing waterman and then allowing an employee to temporarily use the allocation. Court records state that the date of the alleged crime was Sept. 30, 2015.
The employee, Ryan Marshall Edwards, 28, of Piney Point, and Sharon Lea Hammett, 63, of Leonardtown, the notary used in the allocation transfer, were also charged in the scheme.
Lumpkins last fall permanently transferred to his own tidal fishing license the striped bass allocation of David O’Donnell McKenney, a waterman who was in a bicycle accident Sept. 7, 2016, that left him a quadriplegic until his death on Nov. 1, 2015.
Edwards applied for, and received, a temporary transfer of the allocation during that time. Edwards used that allocation to harvest striped bass while McKenney was hospitalized and for several months following his death.
Officers inspecting the permanent and temporary transfer documents noticed McKenney’s signature did not match signatures on older documents, including his will. When confronted with the fact that McKenney could not have signed the permanent transfer documents on Sept. 20 – after his accident – Lumpkins told officers the waterman had signed them earlier in the year when he was well.
The temporary transfer to Edwards for use of the allocation from Oct. 27, 2015, to Aug. 31 of this year was dated Oct. 27. Both transfer documents were notarized by Hammett.
Robert Maurice Lumpkins charged with stealing from a dying waterman
After McKenney’s death, his beneficiary obtained his tidal fish license, but not the striped bass allocation, a valuable part of the license now held by Lumpkins.
Police say that when questioned by officers, Hammett first said that Lumpkins and McKenney each had come to her business to have the transfers notarized. Each man had signed a statement that the documents contained accurate and true statements. But Hammett later admitted that Lumpkins and Edwards brought the documents to her already signed. She told officers that she no longer kept a registry of transactions.
Edwards was charged with perjury, false entry in a public record and theft between $10,000 and $100,000. Hammett was criminally charged with two counts of misuse of a public seal and was charged under common law with two counts of misconduct in office. A date has not been set in St. Mary’s County District Court.
In 2011, Lumpkins pleaded guilty for his role in the largest striped bass poaching ring in the history of the Chesapeake Bay and was sentenced to serve 18 months in federal prison. He also was ordered to pay a fine of $36,000 and make restitution of $165,000.