Robert Steve Mills: Pleaded Guilty to Money Laundering in Case Where a Fake Insurance Policy Was Issued & 20 People Died
Check out our earlier story when Christopher Purser pled guilty in the same case.
A 57-year-old Florida man has been convicted of "conspiracy to launder money" for his involvement in a case in which a false insurance policy was issued for the tour boat Ethan Allen, the U.S. Attorney's office announced Thursday.
Twenty elderly tourists died when the Ethan Allen sank in October 2005 in the waters of Lake George in upstate New York. The boat's owners thought they were covered, but they weren't. They'd been defrauded by Houstonian Christopher Purser. Purser pled guilty to fraud in October 2011.
Robert Steve Mills, 57, of Bonita Springs, Florida, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced along with Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Lucy Cruz.
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He faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison as well as a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is set for October 19 before U.S. District Judge Sim Lake. According to prosecutors:
Mills admitted to conspiring to launder the proceeds of a fraud scheme that sold fake liability insurance policies through "benefit associations" operated from Texas called International Property Owners Association Ltd. and Global Property Owners Association Inc. and through a company domiciled in Pago Pago, American Samoa, called American Transport Insurance Corporation. The fake insurance was purchased by apartment complexes, condominium associations, bars, restaurants, trucks, taxi cabs, charter aircraft services and other businesses in the United States and Caribbean. One company that purchased the insurance was Shoreline Cruises Inc. which operated a 40-foot tour boat called the Ethan Allen on Lake George, N.Y. The tour boat operator discovered its insurance policy was fictitious after the Ethan Allen sank on Oct. 2, 2005, in a tragic accident that claimed the lives of 20 elderly tourists.
Prosecutors also said, "Mills has been in custody since Jan. 10, 2011, when a U.S. magistrate judge found he presented a serious risk of flight, having fled the United States in 2009 because of the government's investigation." Besides the Christopher Purser conviction, two other men -- Edmund Benton and Malchus Irvin Boncamper -- have pled guilty to conspiracy to launder money. Purser, Benton and Boncamper will each be sentenced by Judge Lake on Aug. 2.
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