(July 3, 2020) The Tranquilo, a 70-foot yacht that was seized by the federal government in November, was hoisted out of the Sunset Marina in West Ocean City on Tuesday.
The vessel was taken from Long Island, New York-based owners Jack and Frances Cabasso, who were charged with money laundering, fraud and illegal transportation of equipment manufactured in China, such as survelliance cameras.
Long Island’s Newsday reported that Jack Cabasso was the managing director and de facto owner and operator of Aventura Technologies Inc. and his wife was Aventura’s purported owner and chief executive officer.
The Cabassos and senior executives Jonathan Lasker and Christine Lavonne Lazarus misrepresented Aventura as a female-owned small business, with Frances Cabasso as the company’s chief executive.
In addition, Jack Cabasso was allegedly responsible for schemes that involved selling Chinese-made equipment with known cybersecurity vulnerability to the U.S. government and private customers while claiming the equipment was American-made.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said on Nov. 7, 2019 that the schemes dated back to 2006.
Jack Cabasso has been convicted of numerous crimes since 1982, including wire fraud and second-degree grand larceny. In March 2000, he was convicted of participating in a stock-fraud scheme involving 16,000 investors.
Then, in 2011, he was acquitted of mail fraud for allegedly using a business associate’s credit card to pay for an Aventura advertising campaign.
Law enforcement took the Tranquilo, valued at $700,000, at the Cabasso’s home in Northport, New York in November.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, nearly $3 million in 12 financial accounts that contained proceeds from the crimes were frozen.
Rose Halvorsen, a former law enforcement officer, was kayaking in the marina on Tuesday and saw the Tranquilo headed toward the lift to be removed from the water. Halvorsen overheard the captain tell the lift operator that the boat was seized.
She called her husband, Jim Halvorsen, a retired Sheriff’s Deputy at Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, to take pictures.
Apparently, the Tranquilo has been at the marina for a while, but it is unclear how it came to the area.
Sunset Marina had no comment.
The Department of Natural Resources, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard were reportedly not involved in the incident.