UNDERLICENSED NOBRA PILOT PLEADS GUILTY TO FALSIFYING CREDENTIALS
DERECK E. PONAMSKY, age 36, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pled guilty today in federal court before U. S. District Judge Jay Zainey for use of an altered Coast Guard license, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to the factual basis, PONAMSKY admitted today that he was issued a Merchant Mariner’s License in June, 2005 by the U. S. Coast Guard authorizing him to serve as a Master of Steam or Motor Vessels of not more than 100 gross tons. He further admitted that he presented to the New Orleans-Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association (NOBRA) a license which had been altered to include a First Class Pilot Endorsement. Based on this fraudulent license, he worked as a NOBRA pilot from June 2005 until approximately February 2, 2008.
PONAMSKY faces a possible maximum sentence of five (5) years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and three (3) years supervised release. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 17, 2011.
This investigation was conducted by the United States Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Services. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Dorothy Manning Taylor.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org