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Yacht broker gets four-year prison sentence

Maryland yacht broker Edwin Leroy Blakesley was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing $300,000 from customers.

Blakesley, 57, also will spend five years on supervised probation, when he must pay restitution totaling $319,325.32, the Star Democrat newspaper reported.

Blakesley owned and operated Yachts Unlimited LLC, which did business at two marinas in Kent County, Md., and from a rented office and his home.

He sold some boats and purchased others for customers until he began keeping the profits.

By March 2007, Blakesley's bank accounts were empty. Soon afterward, he left Maryland, according to police. He was arrested Feb. 24 near Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, where his wife has family, the newspaper reported.

Prosecutors said Blakesley used the stolen money to pay his bills and there was no evidence that he had a lavish lifestyle. At sentencing, he said he had not intended to hurt anyone and pointed to bad business decisions he made.

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