Fomer Suncruz Owner Pleads Guilty
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Jon Sall, Special Agent in Charge, United States Coast Guard Investigative Service; and Ricky D. Langlois, Special Agent in Charge, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, announced that defendant, JAB America, Inc., pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to charges that one of its vessels, the SunCruz VI, dumped garbage off its deck into waters of the United States while departing from Port Everglades on April 24, 2003, in violation of the Refuse Act, Title 33, United States Code, Sections 407 and 411.
According to statements in court, JAB America, Inc., at the time of the offense, owned seven vessels, including the SunCruz VI, which made twice daily gambling “voyages to nowhere,” beyond the territorial waters of Florida. On April 24, 2004, United States Coast Guard surveillance equipment observed and recorded several filled plastic garbage bags being dumped overboard from the vessel into Government Cut near Fort Lauderdale.
At the time of the incident, JAB, America Inc., and the vessels’ operator SunCruz, LLC, were operating under Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. On April 9, 2004, the assets of both JAB America, Inc. and SunCruz LLC. were purchased by Oceans Casino Cruises, Inc. and Vessel Casinos, Inc. (collectively “Oceans and Vessels”). Oceans and Vessels continue to own and operate the SunCruz business under the SunCruz name and have maintained the same operations. Oceans and Vessels signed the plea agreement and expressly agreed to assume all of JAB America, Inc.’s obligations under the agreement, including the development, implementation, and enforcement of a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan that requires an independent consultant to be hired to oversee environmental operations. The court, in accepting the plea, noted that the Environmental Compliance Plan required by the Plea Agreement constituted a benefit to the community.