|For Immediate Release
Case # 13HF1487 May 28, 2013
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
DANA POINT YACHT BROKER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR DEFRAUDING 26 VICTIMS OF OVER $1.5 MILLION
SANTA ANA – A former Dana Point yacht broker will be arraigned today on charges of stealing over $1.5 million from 26 victims in an investment and fraudulent sale scheme. Edward Sellers Fitzgerald, 60, formerly of Dana Point, is charged with eight felony counts of theft from an elder, 19 felony counts of using untrue statements in the purchase or sale of a security, 17 felony counts of grand theft, and 14 felony counts of issuing non-sufficient checks with the intent to defraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 58 years in state prison. Fitzgerald is being held on $1.6 million bail and is expected to be arraigned today, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
Between 2007 and July 2009, Fitzgerald is accused of being the owner of a Dana Point yacht brokerage, Dana Island Yacht Sales and Charters. He is accused of defrauding 26 victims of over $1.5 million in various investment schemes related to the buying and selling of yachts.
Fitzgerald is accused of defrauding some of his victims by securing loans from friends and acquaintances under the false pretense of purchasing boats for resale. He is accused of failing to purchase boats as promised, using new investors to pay off previous investors, and stealing the money to pay his personal expenses. In some cases, Fitzgerald is accused of selling yachts on behalf of clients, embezzling the sale funds from his escrow account, and either failing to return the funds to the victims or issuing checks to the victims that were returned as non-sufficient funds. The defendant is also accused of stealing deposits put down by victims for the purchase of boats and failing to secure the sale or return the deposit.
In July 2009, the defendant is accused of cleaning out his bank accounts and moving away without telling any of his victims or providing his location or contact information.
Several of the victims reported the theft to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who investigated this case with the Orange County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.
Fitzgerald was arrested May 10, 2013, in Delray Beach, Florida, by the Delray Beach Police Department and was extradited to Orange County May 23, 2013.
Deputy District Attorney Sean O’Brien of the White Collar Crime Team is prosecuting this case.