Archive for » September 17th, 2016«

Jet boat investor indicted for wire/bank fraud – Lockport Union

Christopher Bohnenkamp, a businessman from Idaho who set up a whitewater boat tour company along the Niagara River three years ago, surrendered to U.S. marshals in Buffalo on Thursday after a federal grand jury indicted him on wire and bank fraud charges.

During his arraignment before a U.S. magistrate judge in Buffalo, Bohnenkamp, 41, pleaded not guilty to the allegations and voluntarily agreed to return to Idaho to face charges. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Idaho announced that a grand jury sitting in the state’s capital indicted Bohnenkamp on Thursday. 

The indictment accuses Bohnenkamp, one of the principal investors in Niagara Jet Adventures in Youngstown, of scheming to defraud customers and material vendors in Idaho by promising to build and deliver jet boats and trailers and to pay the vendors for materials that they had supplied on credit.

Idaho prosecutors allege that, from 2012 through 2014, Bohnenkamp accepted more than $1.6 million in upfront payments from 15 customers, but never built and delivered the boats or trailers they ordered.

Still owing those customers jet boats and trailers, and still owing material vendors for components bought on credit, Bohnenkamp accepted more upfront payments from new customers from May 2014 through December 2014, the indictment said.

The indictment further alleges that between 2012 and 2014 Bohnenkamp defrauded KeyBank and Washington Trust Bank in connection with roughly $1 million in proceeds lent to six customers to purchase jet boats and trailers. 

The indictment goes on to claim that Bohnenkamp provided the banks with false bills of sale that misrepresented down payments were made, inflated trade-in values and omitted kickbacks of cash. 

Bohnenkamp’s Idaho-based attorney has said in the past that Bohnenkamp simply ran out of money and was trying to make good on the orders placed through his associated companies: Bohnenkamp’s Whitewater Customs, Inc. and its sales arm, Treasure Valley Marine, Inc.

Bohnenkamp’s local attorney, Damon DeCastro, did not respond to request for comment on Thursday.  

Last summer, the Niagara Gazette and the Idaho Statesman each reported that several of Bohnenkamp’s former customers accused him and his companies of defrauding them before leaving Idaho for New York.

The Gazette later contributed to a story by the Statesman, the state’s paper of record, when it began an in-depth investigation into the boat maker’s alleged activities before he launched Niagara Jet Adventures in Youngstown.

The case is being investigated by the office of Idaho U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson and the FBI.

The bank and wire fraud charges each carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Idaho Statesman reporters Audrey Dutton and Zach Kyle contributed to this story.

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Great Lakes Marine Sales and Service prepares for Fall Day of Fun

Fall is definitely in the air, and with it comes a fun day on the water. If you love boating, enjoy eating fresh fish and just plain talking about being on the water, then you will want to mark Sunday, Oct. 2, on your calendar for the 88th annual Great Lakes Marine Sales and Service’s annual Fall Day of Fun.

The Ritz will be the tournament headquarters and the docks will be lined with the latest Premier Pontoons and Alumacraft boats. Throughout the day, those in attendance will have the chance to take demo rides and ask questions about the two marine lines.

For those who want to fish, there is the annual fishing tournament that kicks off the day’s activities at 7 a.m. Cost to enter the contest is $10 per boat (for a team of two), and you can sign up early at Great Lakes Marine for the chance at an early bird registration prize or register on Oct. 2 at The Ritz between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. The tournament ends at 2 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for the heaviest combined weight of five perch, five bluegills, five crappies and five white bass/yellow bass. Awards will also go to the heaviest fish and for the smallest fish brought to the scale.

The fish caught will be weighed and cleaned for a special fish fry, which begins at 3 p.m. with the rest of the “fixins” prepared by Taylor and her staff at The Ritz.

Prizes and awards will be given out at the fish fry.

Shane and Christa and the rest of the Great Lakes Marine staff say, “Thank you for another great year. Choose your fun … choose your boat … choose Great Lakes Marine.”

As we move into mid-September and later into October, there are so many hunting seasons going on, that a lot of people just put their boats and fishing equipment away. However, this is also the time of year when the fish really put on “the feed bag.”

Basically, it becomes pick your passion. See what I mean:

–Yellows on Minnewashta

–Yellows, perch and bluegills on East Okoboji

–Bluegills, crappies, perch and yellow bass on West Okoboji

–Perch on Big Spirit

–Bluegills and crappies on Center Lake

–Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass on Big Spirit and West Okoboji

–Walleyes (pulling plugs) on East Okoboji, Big Spirit and Silver Lake

–Walleyes on all of the lakes (using waders-find the moving water)

–Muskies on Big Spirit and West Okoboji

–Catfish on East Okoboji

See what I mean? Here again, there are so many options that it’s tough to find enough hours in the week to try them all. This also becomes the time that a boat isn’t necessary for all of these opportunities. Many of these fish will be cruising the shoreline, so wader fishing is a great option. Plus, a public dock might work or a fishing pier or the trestle.

As for the weather, it can be awesome. Kind of the calm before the storm as late fall turns to winter, but that means ice fishing … see what I mean?

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Superyacht Sales Rebound

Research-firm Wealth-X and luxury-yachting specialty company Camper Nicholsons got together to produce their first-ever yacht report. They analyzed ultra-high-net-worth individuals, defined as those with over $30 million, across five continents to build a profile of a typical superyacht owner. The big news: Sales are up because yacht prices have, in some cases, been cut in half over the last five years. Yacht prices have been drastically cut in the last five years, spurring sales.

Superyachts are usually packed with cinema and music centers, gym facilities, indoor and outdoor bars, and a full-service staff hired to look after the decks, clean, and cook for you and your guests. A superyacht costs $10 million on average, according to the report. Factor in the maintenance costs, dockage fees, insurance premiums, and fuel, and you need at least 10 times that amount in net worth to own one—or $100 million, says Winston Chesterfield, research director at Wealth-X.

Courtesy of Camper Nicholsons

Some 4,500 superyachts roam the world today with around 150 delivered to buyers annually. While the report defines superyachts as those over 30 meters in length, the average length of the floating home is 44 meters. Sales have increased since five years ago by 24%, coupled with a decline in prices. Motor yachts, for example, are now around $11 million, compared to $16 million in 2011, and sailing yachts go for around $6 million, half their $12-million-average price tag from five years ago. “If you are dollar based or the equivalent, the euro-priced vessels are far more attractive,” says Michael Payne, CEO of Camper Nicholsons, attributing the strengthening dollar to the drop in overall prices.

Still, $10 million, just to get a yacht, let alone run it, isn’t chump change. Are they worth the price? People are “valuing time and the experience a lot more,” says Chesterfield, and a yacht is the ideal vehicle to ferry around family and friends with a sense of adventure amidst the comforts of luxury. On a yacht you can both enjoy an outdoor entertainment system under the stars and hook a left towards the Galapagos Islands. A vessel like that can also get you into hard to reach corners of the earth for National Geographic-type experiences. Chesterfield says the report revealed that the wealthy want to “spend more time on their yachts, take trips onshore, and have a look around.”

One way to taste the life, before spending the big bucks, is to charter a superyacht. The average value of charter is $115,500 to $190,000 a week. Alternatively, if you are frugal by nature, consider buying a second-hand 10-meter day boat, which runs around $25,000, or an older 15-meter vessel that could be had for $150,000 to $200,000. But, of course, such boats are primarily used for day trips, when staying in a comfortable villa, as they can be “quite cramped and claustrophobic” if you’re stuck inside for long periods, says Chesterfield.

Not for everyone, undoubtedly, but if you are looking for quality time with the family and memories to last a lifetime, consider a yacht. There are few experiences to equal dropping an anchor in a remote, azure-colored bay off Madagascar, or cruising past a colony of puffins on a rocky outcrop off Greenland.

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