Man accused of staging boat crash now faces more charges

AP News
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Posted: Apr 27, 2015 5:41 PM

MAYS LANDING, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man who disappeared after authorities say he staged a boating accident is now facing more charges.

Atlantic County prosecutors say the charges are included in a superseding indictment recently handed up by a county grand jury against Andrew Biddle, 45, of Egg Harbor Township, and Tracy Blumenstein, 49, of Northfield. Prosecutors say the counts stem from a series of fraudulent transactions the men committed between 2012 and 2014 through their boat sales business.

Biddle was reported missing July 20 after he and another man went into the water when their pontoon boat hit a buoy in Longport. His friend swam to shore and called police to say Biddle was missing.

The Coast Guard searched for Biddle, but law enforcement officials said two weeks later they believed the accident was staged.

A message left with Biddle's lawyer wasn't returned Monday. It wasn't known if Blumenstein has retained an attorney.

Biddle initially faced three counts of theft by deception. He was accused of taking boats in trades and reselling them without paying off the loans.

The new indictment, handed up Thursday and made public on Monday, charges both men with seven counts of theft by deception, five counts of theft by illegal retention and two counts of passing checks. They also each face single counts of conspiracy, theft by unlawful taking and deceptive business practices.

Both men remain free on bail. They face lengthy prison terms if convicted on all counts.