Case # 13HF4187
Date: July 27, 2015
FORMER DANA POINT YACHT BROKER SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR DEFRAUDING OVER $1.3 MILLION FROM 26 VICTIMS
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former Dana Point yacht broker was convicted and sentenced to seven years in state prison today for stealing over $1.3 million from 26 victims in a fraudulent investment and sale scheme. Edward Sellers Fitzgerald, 62, formerly of Dana Point, pleaded guilty to a court offer to 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.
Between 2007 and July 2009, Fitzgerald was the owner of a Dana Point yacht brokerage, Dana Island Yacht Sales and Charters. He defrauded 26 victims of over $1.3 million in various investment schemes related to the buying and selling of yachts.
Fitzgerald defrauded some of his victims by securing loans from friends and acquaintances under the false pretense of purchasing boats for resale. He failed to purchase boats as promised, used new investors to pay off previous investors, and stole the money to pay his personal expenses. In some cases, Fitzgerald sold yachts on behalf of clients, embezzled the sale funds from his escrow account, and either failed to return the funds to the victims or issued checks to the victims that were returned as non-sufficient funds. Fitzgerald stole deposits put down by victims for the purchase of boats and failed to return the deposit or secure the sale.
In July 2009, Fitzgerald cleaned out his bank accounts and moved away without telling any of his victims or providing his new 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 on May 23, 2013.
Deputy District Attorney Sean O’Brien of the White Collar Crime Team prosecuted this case.