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Man charged with insurance fraud for abandoning boat off Bainbridge
A Seattle man has been charged in with felony insurance fraud in King County Superior Court for abandoning a yacht in Puget Sound nearly a year ago, according to a Seattle P-I story.
Brian A. Lewis abandoned the 36-foot Chris-Craft "Jubilee" midway between Bainbridge and Seattle on March 22, 2008, after motoring it from its Eagle Harbor moorage (See original Review story).
Lewis did not report the incident to authorities at the time and left for work in Alaska the same day. He later told the U.S. Coast Guard that he had left Jubilee mid-Sound after it experienced engine trouble and began taking on water.
Jubilee drifted back to Bainbridge, where it wallowed in shallow water off Murden Cove for nearly a week, shedding debris along the coastline. The Department of Natural Resources eventually contracted with a salvage company to have the vessel towed away.
According to the Seattle P-I story, investigators found a 2-inch drilled hole in Jubilee's hull and found damage to its bilge pumps.
DNR later sold Jubilee on the online auction site eBay.
Charges were filed earlier this month.
The story of fraud charges being filed has been picked up regionally and nationally.
Bainbridge Harbormaster Tami Allen said she hopes the story's exposure will help prevent people from abandoning unwanted boats in the future.
"The education piece is great news," she said.