A Gloucester man was
sentenced in federal court for towing his charter boat off the coast
of Gloucester and sinking it in a commercial fishing area.
United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan
; Michael E. Hubbard, Special
Agent in Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal
Enforcement Division in New England; and William Schenkelberg, Special
Agent in Charge of the Northeast Region of the U.S. Coast Guard
Investigative Service, announced that THOMAS W. LUKEGORD, JR., age
47, of 121 Wheeler Street, Gloucester, was sentenced by U.S. Magistrate
Judge Judith Dien to one year of probation, a fine, restitution and a
public apology, in connection with LUKEGORD'S conviction on one count of
violating the Refuse Act.
LUKEGORD, the owner of a charter boat service in Gloucester, towed a
sixty-two foot charter boat named the Nicole Renee to sea and sank it off
the coast of Gloucester in approximately one hundred feet of water. After
removing fuel and other hazardous materials from the vessel, LUKEGORD
pumped water into it using a bilge pump until it sank stern first. LUKEGORD
had looked into disposing of the vessel properly, but chose not to incur
the expense. The vessel sank in an area that is fished by commercial
fishermen, thereby creating a navigational hazard.
In imposing sentence, Magistrate Judge Dien adopted the sentencing
recommendation in the plea agreement filed in the case. In addition to
serving one year of probation, LUKEGORD will pay a fine of $2,000. Under
the whistleblower provision of the Refuse Act, a portion of the fine will
be paid directly to the individuals who reported the Nicole Renee's
sinking. LUKEGORD also will pay the Coast Guard $1,928 in restitution,
which equals the cost to the Coast Guard in responding to the sinking.
Finally, as part of his plea agreement, LUKEGORD will publish an apology in
the Gloucester Daily Times and the Standard-Times of New Bedford, the
newspapers of the two largest fishing ports in the region.
The case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency's
Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative
Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan F.
Mitchell in Sullivan's Economic Crimes Unit and EPA Senior Criminal
Enforcement Attorney Peter Kenyon.