Marina Owner Sentenced for Scuttling Abandoned Vessels in LI Sound

A Bristol, Maine man was sentenced Monday for scuttling several sailboats and motorboats between the Black Rock Harbor and the Pennfield Reef Lighthouse in Long Island Sound.

US District Judge Stefan Underhill in Bridgeport sentenced John Magness, 72, to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $45,000 fine.

Judge Underhill also ordered Magness to perform 50 hours of community service while on supervised release.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Magness, formerly of Southbury, CT, was the owner of Bluefish Cove Marina in Bridgeport. 

While preparing to sell the property in 2018, Magness and Peter Albrecht, who worked at the marina, engaged Carlos Santos to sink several abandoned vessels in the Long Island Sound without a permit. 

Magness agreed to forgive Santos for unpaid dockage fees in exchange for his help sinking the vessels.

Investigators identified as least five vessels as having been scuttled at the request of Magness between October 2018 and April 2019.

On November 2, 2020, Magness pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of navigable waters by sinking a vessel. 

Albrecht, of Norwalk, and Santos, of Westbrook, each previously pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced to a one-year term of probation.  Albrecht was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and Santos was ordered to pay a $500 fine.

This matter was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren C. Clark.