Perfectly good fishing boat sabotaged

Owners admit trying to sink it for insurance money

Had it sunk, investigators likely would not have discovered the intentional destruction.
  • Had it sunk, investigators likely would not have discovered the intentional destruction.
  • Orange County Sheriff’s Department photo

Christopher Switzer and Mark Gillette on October 11 took their charter sport-fishing vessel, a 57-foot craft named the Commander, to sea from Mission Bay. They later made an emergency call to the Coast Guard, saying their boat was sinking. A helicopter went looking for them. A Dana Point Harbor Patrol rescue/fire boat found the two atop the partially submerged vessel.

Yesterday (February 1) they admitted it was an insurance scam. They had planned to sink the vessel and collect payments. To pull off the scheme, they had destroyed the PVC piping in the engine room, causing sea water to flood in. They pumped sea water onto the craft and punctured the bulkhead to let the water spread throughout the boat.

The craft was towed back to San Diego Bay, where investigators figured out the attempted scam. Switzer and Gillette initially lied to officials about the incident.

They face a maximum ten years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. They also have to pay more than $15,000 to the Coast Guard for the expense of the rescue operation.

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Comments

Insurance scam, so obviously dumb, like making easy money from home BS (Faiqa).

shirleyberan: Work-from-home scams have been notorious for decades. Best, Don Bauder

Monitor: Please remove the advertising post by Falqa Shah. Best, Don Bauder

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale a tale of a fateful trip, that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailin' man, the Skipper brave and sure, five con-artists set sail that day, for a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew the Minnow would be lost. The Minnow would be lost.

Ponzi: Wonderful poetry. But you need to have copious footnotes, as T.S. Eliot did. Best, Don Bauder

So Ponzi, you're saying it was worth a shot at a shipwreck because some become lucrative pop culture TV series? Two bumbling idiots ruin their own sports fishing boat...rather than try to sell it. Guess there's still a chance for a show, after penalties.

These guys got caught but I bet there are a lot of insurance frauds that do not get caught.

shirleyberan: If the Reader followed every house that is burned down for the insurance payments, we would be writing about nothing else. Best, Don Bauder

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