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Four Plead Guilty in TBT Paint Scam

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

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Four Florida men and two companies have pleaded guilty to selling toxic boat paint they had previously agreed to stop manufacturing.

According to court documents, the defendants netted at least $2 million between 2004 and 2009 by selling coatings containing tributyltin methacrylate (TBT), despite canceling the paint's pesticide registration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2005.

Defendants New Nautical Coatings, dba Sea Hawk Paints; Sea Hawk Refinish Line, dba Refinish Line Auto Supplies; CEO Erik Norrie; president David Norrie; vice president Jason Revie; and national sales manager Tommy Craft all pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro in the Southern District of Florida on Friday (Oct. 3).

Refinish Line Auto
RefinishLine.com

The defendants allegedly used Refinish Line to send invoices for the TBT-based coatings they sold after December 2005.

An 11-count grand jury indictment, unsealed earlier this year, charged Clearwater, FL-based New Nautical Coatings Inc., Sea Hawk Refinish Line and four executives with scheming to unlawfully sell an unregistered pesticide and obstruct justice.

Potential Prison, Fines

New Nautical Coatings and David Norrie pleaded guilty to willfully conspiring to corruptly obstruct the due and proper administration of law under which a pending proceeding was being had before the Environmental Protection Agency.

David Norrie faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. New Nautical Coatings faces a fine of up to $500,000, or twice the gross pecuniary gain resulting from the offense, whichever is greater, and a term of probation between one to five years.

In a plea agreement, New Nautical agreed to pay a fine of $1,235,315 and implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan in cooperation with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the EPA.

Sea Hawk Biocop
Seahawkpaints.com

According to court documents, the men knowingly sold TBT-based Biocop despite agreeing to stop manufacturing the paint. At the time, the company was the last manufacturer of TBT anti-fouling paint.

Sea Hawk Refinish Line and Erik Norrie pleaded guilty to willfully conspiring to knowingly distribute and sell an unregistered pesticide. Revie and Craft pleaded guilty to knowingly distributing and selling an unregistered pesticide.

Erik Norrie, Revie and Craft face up to one year in prison, one year of supervised release, and a $100,000 fine. Sea Hawk Refinish Line faces a fine of up to $200,000, or twice the gross pecuniary gain resulting from the offense, whichever is greater, and a term of probation of up to five years.

(Erik Norrie made international headlines in 2013 as the "world's unluckiest man" after a shark bit a large chunk out of his left leg during a fishing trip in the Bahamas. He's reportedly also survived a lightning strike, a rattlesnake bite, and two monkey attacks.)

The defendants are all scheduled for sentencing Dec. 5, 2014.

False Sales

According to court documents, New Nautical manufactured a marine paint called Biocop Anti-Fouling Coating, which contained TBT. At the time, the company was the last manufacturer of TBT-based anti-fouling coatings in the U.S., according to the district attorney's office.

Erik Norrie
Seahawkpaints.com

Erik Norrie made international headlines in 2013 as the "world's unluckiest man" after a shark bit a large chunk out of his left leg during a fishing trip in the Bahamas. He's reportedly also survived a lightning strike, a rattlesnake bite, and two monkey attacks.

New Nautical Coatings allegedly devised a plan to continue manufacturing and selling Biocop after its registration was cancelled by making it appear that it had manufactured the coating before Dec. 1, 2005, and sold its inventory to distributors, including codefendant Refinish Line, by Dec. 31, 2005.

Court documents say the Norries and Revie made it appear as if New Nautical had sold thousands of gallons of Biocop to Refinish Line, creating the appearance that Refinish Line was a distributor.

David Norrie falsely represented to an EPA inspector that New Nautical sold its existing stock of Biocop to distributors, court documents allege.

   

Tagged categories: Coating Materials; EPA; Ethics; Government; Laws and litigation; Marine Coatings; North America; Shipyards

Comment from Dave Fernee, (10/7/2014, 8:46 AM)

Not a bad trade. $2 million profit, $1.2 million fine


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