A Miami-based ship surveyor faces up to 15 years in prison after a federal jury in Miami has convicted him of lying to the Coast Guard and for falsely certifying the safety of ships at sea.
According to a U.S. DoJ release, Alejandro Gonzalez, 60, of Miami-Dade County, Fla., was convicted by a federal jury in Miami of three counts of making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard and one count of obstruction of an agency proceeding, punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count.
In court, prosecutors said Gonzalez lied to U.S. Coast Guard inspectors and a criminal investigator about the dry-docking of the M/V Cala Galdana, a 68-meter ro-ro vessel, prompted after a leak was found aboard the vessel in a August 2008 incident.
During the interviews, Gonzalez repeatedly claimed the vessel was dry-docked in Cartagena, Colombia, in March 2006, however evidence presented at trial proved conclusively that the vessel was never in Colombia during 2006, and therefor Gonzalez was lying.
In a seperate incident, Gonzalez was also convicted of falsifying documents in December 2009 for the M/V Cosette, a 92-meter cargo vessel. As the surveyor on behalf of Bolivia, Gonzalez certified the ship as “safe for sea” while the vessel was docked in Fort Pierce, Fla., in November 2009. Later when the vessel arrived in New York City harbor, U.S. Coast Guard inspectors discovered exhaust and fuel pouring into the ship’s engine room, endangering the crew and the ship. For his action, Gonzalez was convicted of making a false statement and obstructing a U.S. Coast Guard Port State Control examination.
Sentencing is currently scheduled for Aug. 2, 2012, in Miami.