HOUMA - State Police arrested owners of a Tangipahoa Parish oyster business in a case involving $105,830 in unpaid bills due a seafood processing company in Terrebonne Parish.
Vito Caronna, 63, and Rhonda Caronna, 51, both of Robert, were booked on counts of issuing worthless checks and theft over $500, a felony, according to a State Police news release.
The Caronnas own Joey Oysters Inc., of Amite.
The oyster house bills itself on its website as one of the largest processors of high-quality oysters on the Gulf Coast, with ownership of more than 2,000 acres of oyster leases.
Except for the most recent year, Joey Oysters annually supplied oysters for the Amite Oyster Festival and is the last of three oyster houses operating in Amite, said Carol Brooke, festival chairwoman.
State Police said the owners of Brunswick Seafood Inc., of Theriot, which does business as Dularge Seafood Processing, filed a criminal complaint against the Caronnas on April 5.
Brunswick Seafood accused the Caronnas of failing to pay $25,746 for seafood purchased from Brunswick and also providing Brunswick with $80,084 in bank checks that later were returned for insufficient funds, the news release says.
The Caronnas were booked into Tangipahoa Parish Correctional Facility in Amite as fugitives from Terrebonne Parish and await extradition, the news release says. Bail was set at $250,000 each.