Federal Jury Finds President Of Yacht Charter Brokerage Company Guilty Of Obstruction Of A Federal Agency Proceeding

Federal Jury Finds President Of Yacht Charter Brokerage Company Guilty Of Obstruction Of A Federal Agency Proceeding

Tampa, FL – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that a federal jury has found Patrick Dines (74, St. Petersburg) guilty of endeavoring to obstruct a proceeding pending before the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Dines faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing has not yet been set. Dines had been indicted on March 1, 2022.

According to evidence presented at trial, Dines was the president of “FYC Yachts,” a yacht charter brokerage company in St. Petersburg. In August 2016, in response to reports that FYC Yachts had been overcrowding charters in violation of federal boating safety laws, a USCG investigating officer met with Dines to discuss the reports and FYC Yachts’ operations. Dines assured the investigating officer that his company was operating in compliance with the law.   

On the afternoon of March 14, 2017, an overcrowded FYC-chartered yacht, named the “JAGUAR,” set sail from Maximo Marina in St. Petersburg and anchored in Pass-a-Grille Channel to allow the passengers to go swimming. There were strong currents outgoing in the channel that day, which pulled the swimmers away from the JAGUAR. Two swimmers were unable to make it back to the boat. While the other passengers assisted one of the swimmers, the only crew member on board besides the captain jumped into the water to save the other passenger. Both the crew member and the passenger were overcome by the current and swept out to sea. Search and rescue efforts by the JAGUAR, the USCG, and state and local partner agencies were unsuccessful.

Upon the JAGUAR’s return to Maximo Marina later that evening, Dines approached the remaining passengers and encouraged one of them to pretend to be a crew member in order to mislead Coast Guard investigators about the number of passengers onboard. This request was consistent with past instructions Dines had given to other charter boat captains to misidentify passengers as crew members during USCG boardings. Dines also attempted to have the remaining passengers sign a charter contract in order to absolve himself of any responsibility for the incident. The passengers refused, noting that the contract had the wrong yacht name, time of voyage, and number of passengers.

This case was investigated by United States Coast Guard Sector (St. Petersburg) and the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service. It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Del Mastro and Ben Krebs.

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