Ed Fitzgerald was a yacht broker in Dana Point, California, for more than 25 years. He operated a company called Dana Island Yachts that sold and brokered boats, ran whale-watching charters, and rented boat slips that were under his control. He was trusted and well liked.
Often, he could be found at the Wind & Sea restaurant in Dana Point Harbor buying drinks for his boating buddies. He had a reputation for loving and consuming Mai Tai’s. He wrecked a few cars and garnered more than one DUI.
He lived a lifestyle that was above his means so he supplemented it by borrowing money from people in what eventually developed into a Ponzi scheme. He also had other illegal ways of raising money that are discussed in depth in this book. He sold a boat for $95,000 and wrote a check to the seller for $85,000. The check bounced. When he promised the seller he'd write a cashier's check for $87,000 to cover the bounced check, he left disappeared. The seller was left with no boat and no money for the boat.
When the economy went south in 2008-2009, Fitzgerald’s income sources started to dry up, his business fell on hard times, and yet he had obligations he had to pay. He got trapped in a perfect financial storm and made a decision around July 17, 2009, to simply disappear. Friends and lenders were shocked, as was the entire Dana Point boating community.
He is still on the run. The Orange County Sheriff investigated the case for about a year and half. In early 2011, the Sheriff sent the case to the Orange County District Attorney. They are reviewing the Sheriff’s report and soon will make a decision to either issue a warrant for Fitzgerald’s arrest, drop the charges, or return the case to the OC Sheriff for more information.
The author, a Dana Point newspaper columnist, knew Fitzgerald well. He has spent two years uncovering details about the case. This is the story. Half of the profits from this book and subsequent media events that might result from this book are being donated to the victims.
Dana Point, California
June 1, 2011
About Tom Blake
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Published June 1, 2011
by Tom Blake Publishing.
Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, Education & Reference.