Federal Conviction Upheld of Calif. Man with History of Sunken Yachts

September 1, 2004

A federal appeals court Aug. 30 upheld the conviction of a lawyer who tried to sink his $1.9-million yacht and then sought nearly double the price in insurance payments.

The court upheld the conviction of Rex DeGeorge for conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and perjury. However, the three-member panel threw out an enhancement of obstruction of justice, which may reduce the 90-month sentence DeGeorge currently is serving.

DeGeorge was convicted in March 2002 in Los Angeles for attempting to sink the 76-foot custom-built Principe di Pictor.

He previously had received insurance payments after claiming two other boats sank and one was stolen.

According to court testimony, the lawyer and two other men left Viareggio, Italy, on the Principe without a captain on Nov. 6, 1992, and cut holes in the bottom of the boat in an unsuccessful attempt to sink the yacht.

When the men were rescued by Italian authorities hours later, they reported that their hired captain had tried to sink the boat before fleeing in a speedboat.

The men were briefly jailed in Italy before returning to the United States, where they filed a claim with their insurance company, Cigna.

Cigna refused to pay and rescinded the yacht’s policy, alleging the value of the yacht had been inflated and that DeGeorge had hidden his ownership of the boat by moving it through several corporations.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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