Vol. 2, Issue 34, August 21-27, 2009
By Nathan Wright
Authorities have received reports placing a Dana Point yacht broker accused of more than $2 million in fraud in Texas, Jamaica and in China. Ed Fitzgerald vanished in June and in the weeks since, dozens of his investors and business associates have come forward with fears they’ve been defrauded by a man that many considered a friend.
“The victims are still calling in,” said Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Jim Amormino. “There could be 40 or 50 victims. It could reach 100 before it’s all through.”
Amormino said Fitzgerald left behind mountains of records, information that investigators are sorting through in an effort to decide what is potentially fraud and what is the remains of a failed—but legal—business. “I hate to make any judgments before we have all the documents,” he said. “This is a very complicated case.”
Fitzgerald has been accused of a Ponzi scheme involving short-term yacht sales investments with the promise of quick returns, along with various other frauds including bilking boaters who paid upfront to use Dana Island Yacht slips. When Fitzgerald left town the payments to the county for those slips stopped, and those boaters who had been using the slips will need to find new homes for their boats.