CHICAGO — A boat owner has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for illegally running charter operations on Chicago waterways, which include the Chicago River, Lake Michigan and “the Playpen.”
Christopher Mike Garbowski admitted to using a 40-foot powerboat known as “Sea Hawk” and “Anchorman” from 2017 to 2019 for personal profit, as he charged money to charter the boat to groups of passengers.
Garbowski lacked the proper boating credentials, and the U.S. Coast Guard had not inspected and certified his vessel, however.
The Coast Guard notified Garbowski about the federal regulations on multiple occasions. In one instance, prosecutors alleged that Garbowski called a potential customer by phone and asked that she lie to Coast Guard personnel by pretending they were friends with him.
According to prosecutors, Garbowski both verbally and in writing, denied to Coast Guard officials that he was operating a commercial charter service on multiple occasions.
Garbowski, who was also known as Michael Gunnman, 37, of Sterling Heights, Michigan pleaded guilty to a felony charge of violating an order of the Captain of the Port.