News and Press Releases

Miami Businessman Sentenced for Violating the Federal Rivers and Harbors Act

February 26, 2014

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Maureen O’Mara, Special Agent in Charge, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, Atlanta Area Office, and Colonel Alan M. Dodd, U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, announce that Richard A. Bunnell, 70, of Coconut Grove, was sentenced yesterday for violations of federal law involving the illegal construction of structures, including docks and piers, in the navigable waters of the United States in violation of the Rivers and Harbors Act.

Bunnell was sentenced before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore on two counts of knowingly placing and erecting structures, docks, and piers within navigable waters of the United States, without, or in violation of, valid permits from the United States Army Corps of Engineers authorizing such conduct. Bunnell previously pled guilty to the charges before Judge Moore on December 26, 2013.

Bunnell was sentenced to six months home detention with electronic monitoring as well as concurrent probationary terms of five years on each of the counts of conviction. Bunnell was also ordered to pay a criminal fine of $175,000 and an additional payment of $50,000 to the South Florida National Parks Trust for management, restoration, and research. Finally, pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement in the case, Bunnell must file any necessary permit applications for six Miami-area installations involved in the case, and commence any corrective action required by the Army Corps of Engineers to modify or alter the installations to comply with Federal law, including the payment of mitigation for damage to natural resources.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jodi A. Mazer and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Watts-FitzGerald.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on

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