James Lynch was a mere boat captain employed by Michael McKay, the now-imprisoned ex-president of the American Maritime Officers union. But McKay, along with his younger brother, former secretary-treasurer Robert McKay, has begun doing time in federal prison on racketeering charges. And the U.S. Justice Department believed Lynch had participated in their theft. On Friday, April 27, prosecutors announced that Lynch, 56, had received a 30-month-prison sentence for his role in defrauding the union. He also will undergo two years of supervised release and make restitution in the amount of at least $103,119 to the union’s benefit plans plus forfeiture in that same amount to the government.
Lynch was a yacht captain and boat dispatcher. But the feds said he was anything but innocent. He allegedly received unauthorized payments and boat repairs from an employee benefit plan vendor. Additionally, said authorities, Lynch diverted money from a benefit plan to pay for personal expenses. Lynch’s attorney, Richard Rosenbaum, said his client was simply following instructions, and was understandably unhappy with the sentence. The American Maritime Officers, based in Dania Beach, Fla., represents about 4,000 officers aboard U.S.-flagged merchant vessels, including cruise ships, sailing the world’s oceans, the Great Lakes and U.S. inland waters. (Associated Press, 4/27/07).