A former Dana Point yacht broker will be arraigned today on charges of stealing over $1.5 million from 26 victims in a fraudulent investment scheme.
According to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Edward Sellers Fitzgerald, 60, formerly of Dana Point, is charged with eight felony counts of theft from an elder, 19 felony counts of using untrue statements in the purchase or sale of a security, 17 felony counts of grand theft, and 14 felony counts of issuing non-sufficient checks with the intent to defraud.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 58 years in state prison. Fitzgerald is being held on $1.6 million bail and is expected to be arraigned today.
Between 2007 and July 2009, Fitzgerald is accused of being the owner of a Dana Point yacht brokerage, Dana Island Yacht Sales and Charters. He is accused of defrauding 26 victims of over $1.5 million in various investment schemes related to the buying and selling of yachts.
Fitzgerald is accused of defrauding some of his victims by securing loans from friends and acquaintances under the false pretense of purchasing boats for resale. He is accused of failing to purchase boats as promised, using new investors to pay off previous investors, and stealing the money to pay his personal expenses. In some cases, Fitzgerald is accused of selling yachts on behalf of clients, embezzling the sale funds from his escrow account, and either failing to return the funds to the victims or issuing checks to the victims that were returned as non-sufficient funds.