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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Indictment Unsealed Charging Boat Operators with Manslaughter in Scuba Diver’s Death

Two United Kingdom nationals have been charged with crimes involving the death of a scuba diver in the Florida Keys.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Rear Admiral Scott A. Buschman, Commander of the Coast Guard 7th District and Director of Homeland Security Task Force Southeast, and Thomas E. Robarge, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS), made the announcement that an indictment has been unsealed against Christopher Jones, 50, and Alison Gracey, 47, both of the United Kingdom, who were charged with crimes involving the death of a scuba diver in the Florida Keys in December 18, 2011.

The indictment charges Jones and Gracey with one count of involuntary manslaughter, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1112, and one count of making a false official statement, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2).  Additionally, the indictment charges Jones with one count of the Seaman’s Manslaughter Statute, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1115.  If convicted, Jones faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years and Gracey a maximum statutory penalty of eight years.

According to the allegations in the indictment, the defendants operated a commercial dive charter boat called “GET WET.”  The alleged unlawful and careless manner in which the defendants operated the boat caused the death of an individual scuba diver.  Additionally, the indictment alleges that the defendants knowingly and willingly made a false statement to the U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center about the boat’s ownership.

On June 5, 2015, Dutch authorities in St. Maarten arrested Jones and Gracey based on the previously-sealed indictment.  The Department of Justice, the Coast Guard, and Coast Guard Investigative Services are seeking the extradition of Jones and Gracey to the United States to face the charges in the indictment from St. Maarten.                                                                 

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service.  This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Raich.

An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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 www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated February 4, 2016