Christopher Mike Garbowski, also known as "Michael Gunnman," of Sterling Heights, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a felony charge of violating an order of the Captain of the Port, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois.
Between 2017 and 2019, prosecutors said Garbowski illegally conducted boat charters on Chicago waterways, including an area in downtown Chicago known as "the Playpen," using a 40-foot powerboat known as the "Sea Hawk" and "Anchorman".
Between 2017 and 2019, prosecutors said Christopher Mike Garbowski illegally conducted boat charters on Chicago waterways, including an area in downtown Chicago known as "the Playpen," using a 40-foot powerboat known as the "Sea Hawk" and "Anchorman" (U.S. Attorneys Office, Northern District of Illinois)
Garbowski charged money to charter the boat to various groups of people, such as bachelorette parties, but did not possess proper boating credentials or have the vessel inspected and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard, prosecutors said.
Coast Guard personnel had issued Garbowski multiple warnings about federal regulations, including on Aug. 19, 2017 at Monroe Harbor, when officials boarded his boat just before he was set to begin a five-hour charter with eight female passengers.
Prosecutors said as the women were about to board the vessel, Garbowski called one of them on her cell phone and told her to lie to the Coast Guard by telling them they were friends.
On several other occasions, he lied to Coast Guard officials that he was operating a commercial charter service.
"Mr. Garbowski’s actions demonstrated consistent disregard for Coast Guard authority and federal regulations concerning passenger vessel safety, putting his unsuspecting, and paying, customers at risk," Special Agent-in-Charge Neal Marzloff said in a statement.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin sentenced Garbowksi to a year-and-a-day in prison Tuesday after a hearing in Chicago federal court.