A Boca Raton financial adviser pleaded guilty to faking his death at sea off Delray Beach, Fla., and agreed to pay the Coast Guard $1 million for the ensuing search for him.
Richard W. Ohrn, 45, acknowledged in an Aug. 8 plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Miami that his actions triggered a three-day air and sea search that began March 31, 2015. That was the day the crew of the 157-foot megayacht Top Five reported to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office that they had found a blood-spattered Sea Ray 185 sport boat abandoned and adrift off Lake Worth Inlet, court filings show.
Ohrn also could face a maximum of six years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the plea agreement said. Judge Robin L. Rosenberg has not yet sentenced him.
Ohrn agreed in the deal to sell his half-million-dollar home in unincorporated Palm Beach County and put the proceeds toward his Coast Guard restitution. He also is supposed to provide the court with a full and accurate account of his finances.
Court filings say Ohrn rented the Sea Ray from “a local company,” Marina One in Deerfield Beach, bought an inflatable boat and motor at West Marine, loaded it onto the Sea Ray and motored six miles into the ocean, where he dropped anchor, made it look as if there had been a fight on the boat and put the inflatable into the water.
He motored to a park on the Hillsboro Canal, pulled the inflatable out of the water, loaded it onto a pickup truck and dropped it off at a friend‘s house. Then he drove to Albany, Ga., where he stayed in an unfurnished apartment that was rented in his nephew’s name. Twelve days later he returned to Boca Raton and turned himself in to a detective.
“In a post-Miranda [warning] statement, Ohrn admitted to faking his disappearance, stating that he decided to ‘just go away’ due to his anxiety,” one plea document said.
The broker was fighting allegations that he had stolen money from clients.