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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hamburg Man Sentenced For Sinking A Boat In The Black Rock Canal

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.—Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Paul E. Van Voorhees, 56, of Hamburg, NY, who was convicted of obstruction of waterways, was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $6,416.50 to the United States Coast Guard by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer.  
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who handled the case, the defendant was the Dock Master at the Buffalo Yacht Club and was responsible for maintenance of the buildings, grounds, and marina. On November 5, 2015, Van Vorhees and another employee of the Buffalo Yacht Club towed a damaged 13’ aluminum row boat that had been floating in the water in front of the Buffalo Yacht Club into the Black Rock Canal.  After reaching a certain location in the canal, the defendant released the boat into the canal with the intention of sinking it in the canal. A witness alerted the United States Coast Guard (USCG). During an initial interview with USCG personnel, Van Voorhees denied releasing the boat into the canal.  The boat was eventually recovered by the USCG from the Black Rock Canal. In a subsequent interview on December 23, 2015, the defendant admitted that he attempted to sink the boat in the canal. 

The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation by the United States Coast Guard, Buffalo Sector, under the direction of Captain Brian Roche, and by the Coast Guard Investigative Service, Buffalo Resident Agent Office, under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Cindy C. Buckley.

Updated November 10, 2016