Fugitive owner of embattled semi-sub company arrested after attempting to flee by boat
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Federal authorities on Friday arrested the fugitive owner of an embattled Hawaii shipbuilding company who tried to flee Hawaii on his boat ahead of his hearing.
Curtiss E. Jackson, 71, was wanted by U.S. Marshals on a federal arrest warrant for violating his terms of pretrial release.
Jackson is accused in a decade-long scheme to defraud investors of tens of millions of dollars in connection with his company called Semisub Inc., a tour boat that lowers itself to give passengers underwater views.
He was originally arrested in October for federal charges of securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy, but was released on parole.
- SEC sues Semisub’s founders for fraud, alleging they used investor funds for psychics and drugs
- DOJ: Founders of Hawaii company scammed investors out of millions to pay for lavish lifestyle
U.S. Marshals worked with the U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration to search for Jackson’s boat after learning that Jackson sailed away on Wednesday. A federal warrant went out for his arrest and he was classified a fugitive.
Around 2 a.m. Friday, authorities located Jackson’s boat off Barber’s Point and arrested him at sea.
Jackson was booked into the Federal Detention Center Honolulu pending court appearance and further hearings.
Petty Officer Ryan Fisher, with Coast Guard Public Affairs, called Jackson’s actions “crazy.”
“When I first saw the boat, I did initially think that’s a lot of boat for one man to handle,” Fisher said.
“I don’t know what his plan was but he obviously didn’t think it through.”
Taking off in this vessel by himself may have been a joy ride, although his crewman described him as looking scared.
It could also have been desperate act to avoid prison. Jackson was due in federal court on Thursday to face an effort by prosecutors to revoke his supervised release for soliciting more money from prior investors.
After about 40 hours at sea, the semi-sub was spotted Friday morning by a Coast Guard C-130 on routine training, officials said. It was intercepted by Coast Guard patrol boats with deputy U.S. Marshalls aboard.
They arrested Jackson without a struggle and a semi-sub crew member helped return the vessel to Kewalo Basin.
The stunt will likely mean Jackson will remain in custody until trial and face enhanced penalties if convicted.
He is scheduled to be back in court Tuesday.
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