‘Insurer’ guilty of fraud in maritime tragedy

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The head of a company that sold an insurance policy to the owner of the ill-fated Ethan Allen cruise boat that capsized on New York’s Lake George in October 2005 pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and now faces 20 years in prison.

In October 2005, the Ethan Allen cruise boat took 47 passengers on a scenic cruise of to view the autumn colors. The captain, Richard Paris, responded to the large wake created by another boat by turning the Ethan Allen sharply, causing his elderly passengers to shift along the benches to one side of the boat. The wake and the rapid shift in the boat’s center of gravity caused the boat to capsize. Twenty of the 47 passengers drowned in the accident.

Click here for a November 2006 report from Trade Only’s consumer-oriented sister publication, Soundings, on what the NTSB investigation determined on the accident.

On Wednesday, Christopher Purser, 50, of Houston, pleaded guilty to fraud after investigators found Purser’s company was nothing but a shell company with no assets to cover any insurance claims.

Click here for a Forbes report on the legal case.

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