A federal jury in Miami convicted a Miami-based ship surveyor for lying to the Coast Guard and for falsely certifying the safety of ships at sea, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Alejandro Gonzalez, 60, of Miami-Dade County, Florida, was convicted by a federal jury in Miami of three counts of making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard and one count of obstruction of an agency proceeding. The defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison on each count.
The Department noted that the jury found Gonzalez guilty of lying to U.S. Coast Guard inspectors and a criminal investigator during an interview in April 2009 about the dry-docking of the M/V Cala Galdana, a 68-meter cargo vessel, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Gonzalez repeatedly claimed the vessel was dry-docked in Cartagena, Colombia, in March 2006, while evidence at the trial proved conclusively that the vessel was never in Colombia during 2006.
The Department stated that the U.S. Coast Guard inspectors in San Juan discovered the vessel taking on water in August 2008 and requested information concerning the last dry-docking of the vessel. Gonzalez concocted a false story about the vessel being dry-docked in Colombia in 2006 when he knew it was not.
Gonzales was also convicted of falsifying documents in December 2009 for the M/V Cosette, a 92-meter cargo vessel. As the surveyor on behalf of Bolivia, Gonzalez certified the ship as safe for sea while the vessel was docked in Fort Pierce, Florida, in November 2009.
When the vessel shortly thereafter arrived in New York City harbor, U.S. Coast Guard inspectors discovered exhaust and fuel pouring into the ship's engine room, endangering the crew and the ship.
Sentencing is currently scheduled for August 2 2012, in Miami, the Department noted.
by RTT Staff Writer
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