Man charged with fraud in scuttling of his own yacht


Felony insurance fraud charges have been filed against a Seattle man who is accused of sinking his own yacht because of “financial pressure and frustration with the maintenance” of the vessel, authorities said.

Court documents say that on March 22, 2008, Brian A. Lewis, 50, scuttled the Jubilee in the Puget Sound Bay, and then rowed a borrowed vessel back to shore, CNN reported.

Three days later, Lewis filled an insurance claim with USAA Insurance reporting the Jubilee sank accidentally “due to unknown causes.”

Insurance investigators examining the boat found that a 2-inch hole had been cut into the boat’s hull and that the bilge system had been damaged.

“The vessel appeared to have been deliberately sunk,” authorities said in their probable cause affidavit.

According to court documents, Lewis admitted he intentionally sunk his vessel, saying the financial strain “caused him extreme anxiety and frustration.”

Before the sinking, Lewis had attempted to sell the boat at an asking price of $28,500.

Jack Bateman, a broker with Mahina Yachts, remembers the Jubilee as a “beautiful” 1967 Chris Craft Cavalier. He said the Mahina has only seen this type of case one other time in its 30 years of operation.