Illegal Charter Operator Sentenced Federally for Violating Coast Guard Order
An illegal charter operator was sentenced in federal court yesterday for violating a U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port Order.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of Florida and Zinnia P. James, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS), Southeast Region, made the announcement.
Randy Postma, 71, of Davie, previously pled guilty to violating a Captain of the Port Order, in violation of Title 33, United States Code, Section 1232(b)(1)). He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga to three years of probation, including 180 days of home detention, and a $4,000 fine.
According to the court record, Postma is the registered owner of the 147-foot motor yacht GOLDEN TOUCH II. On or about August 19, 2018, the Coast Guard suspected that the GOLDEN TOUCH II yacht was operating illegally as a charter vessel. Illegal charters can cause accidents resulting in property damage, injuries and death. Given these concerns, the Coast Guard issued Postma a Captain of the Port Order on August 24, 2018, requiring him to immediately cease operation of the GOLDEN TOUCH II yacht as a passenger vessel until the defendant was in compliance with all federal laws and regulations. Postma was advised that his failure to comply with the Captain of the Port Order could subject him to civil penalties, imprisonment and a fine.
Thereafter, on or about September 1, 2018, Postma continued to operate the GOLDEN TOUCH II as an illegal charter, in violation of the Captain of the Port Order.
“The operation of illegal charters poses a safety risk to passengers and the public at large,” stated U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to partner with the U.S. Coast Guard to protect our South Florida residents and visitors. We will continue to forge ahead with federal charges against those who knowingly violate laws and regulations that endanger lives and compromise legitimate business practices.”
“Those who seek to dodge federal regulations and take shortcuts by operating illegally willfully put their passengers at risk and will be held accountable,” said Capt. Ladonn Allen, Chief of Coast Guard 7th District Prevention Department. “This sentence demonstrates the aggressive posture the Coast Guard and our partners from the U.S. Attorney’s Office have taken in the detection of illegal passenger vessels and in seeking maximum enforcement actions for violations.”
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the CGIS in this matter. This case was prosecuted by Coast Guard Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip Jones.