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Keep Houston Press Free
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Christopher Purser: Indicted for Huge Fake-Insurance Scheme

A Houston man is one of six people indicted for selling bogus insurance policies, including one to a tour boat that sunk and killed 20 people in a New York lake in 2005.

Christopher Purser, 49, was one of the people who sold an insurance policy to the operators of the Ethan Allen. After the boat, filled with elderly tourists, sunk, the operators found the policy they thought they had was bogus -- Purser's company didn't have the funds to cover such losses.

They were just one of many victims, prosecutors said today, which included "nursing homes, assisted living facilities, apartment complexes, condominium associations, bars [and] restaurants."

In the Ethan Allen case, there was a little bit of a twist.

"Purser backdated documents after the Ethan Allen accident to make it appear that Shoreline Cruises had not purchased coverage while the vessel was operating on Lake George when, in fact, Shoreline had purchased exactly that type insurance policy," prosecutors say.

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Smooth.

The list of defendants, according to the U.S. Attorney's office:

Charged along with Purser are: Malchus Irvin Boncamper, 56, of Basseterre, Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, West Indies; Marc-Thibaud Duchesne, 49, a British citizen formerly residing in Houston; William Ballachey, 64, of Brossard, Canada; Edmund Hugh Benton, 52, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Robert Steve Mills, 55, formerly a resident of Dallas, Texas, and Ft. Myers, Fla. Mills was also charged with obstruction of justice for attempting to influence a person to testify falsely before a federal grand jury in Houston in 2009.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Duchesne, Ballachey or Benton is asked to call 281-721-7766.

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