A fishing-boat crew member admitted Monday to being part of a plot to sink the vessel off Cape May more than two years ago in an insurance scheme in exchange for $2,000, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Erik James, 40, of Goshen, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb in federal court in Camden. He is the fourth person, including owner Scott Tran, 38, of Cherry Hill, to plead guilty in the bid to sink the Alexander II 86 miles off Cape May on Aug. 2, 2009.
In July 2009, Tran hired a captain, Henry "Mike" Anholt, who then recruited James and two others. While at sea, the crew summoned the Coast Guard with a distress signal, but their boat failed to sink. Still, Tran filed an insurance claim for $400,000 in damage, which was denied.
One of the crew was not charged, and Anholt died before the indictment was returned. James faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 19. - Darran Simon