A Florida man was arrested after he allegedly told his childhood friend — major-league baseball pitcher Bronson Arroyo — that his boat sank before stealing it and fraudulently selling it for a fraction of its value.
Anthony Acosta, 38, is charged with selling a boat in 2013 that belonged to then-Cincinnati Reds pitcher Arroyo, a childhood friend who now plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Authorities say Acosta sold the 29.8-foot Concept Boat with twin outboard engines, purchased in 2006 for $167,000, for $22,000.
Arroyo had fired Acosta as his personal assistant in 2012, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Acosta was originally hired to take care of the boat. He was given a “generous severance package” and was told not to contact the pitcher, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The arrest warrant said Acosta was fired because a prescription drug problem was causing him to make mistakes in his work, the newspaper reported.
Acosta called Arroyo in 2013 and told him that his boat sank at the Westshore Yacht Club in Tampa, where it had been docked, according to The New York Times. Acosta told the pitcher his boat had been salvaged and was taken to a boatyard, where it would need several thousand dollars of repairs, according to the warrant.
Acosta tried to get money from the pitcher, but Arroyo refused to provide it, according to the Tampa Bay Times, which cited a warrant by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent Charles Bufalino.
Acosta allegedly then took the boat to the Concept Boats yard in Opa-locka and sold it to the father of the yard's owner for $22,000. He provided a phony bill of sale with a forged signature from Arroyo — who knew nothing about the sale and was playing in Cincinnati at the time, authorities said.
In September 2013, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the new owner of the yacht, Manuel Avila, discovered a lien on the property and asked for his money back. Authorities said the new owners reached out to Arroyo when Acosta refused.
That was when the MLB pitcher learned that Acosta had forged his signature on a bill of sale, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The pitcher later paid off the lien and reported Acosta to police.
In a 2009 video posted to YouTube by Cincinnati.com, Arroyo offers a tour of his 48-foot Sea Ray Nasty Hook and refers to Acosta, who is identified as Arroyo's childhood friend, as “Captain Tony.” Both discuss how easy it is to navigate the boat.
Acosta is being held in the Hillsborough County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Arroyo, 38, did not pitch this season after having ligament replacement surgery in 2014, when he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to a report in The New York Times.
The Diamondbacks traded him to the Atlanta Braves on July 30, and Atlanta flipped him — and his contract and 2016 option — to the Los Angeles Dodgers that day as part of a three-team trade that also involved the Miami Marlins.