Boat captain gets prison for illegally claiming disability

SEATTLE (AP) — A 67-year-old man who operates a sailboat tour business in Seattle has been sentenced for decades of illegally collecting disability payments.

The Justice Department says Paul LaMarche pleaded guilty to wire fraud and theft of government property in March, acknowledging that he took nearly $180,000 in disability benefits from BNSF Railway.

He was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to nine months in prison and was ordered to pay nearly $325,000 including restitution and a civil penalty.

Court records say LaMarche claimed in 1988 that he could no longer work as a conductor and brake operator because of a back injury. He began receiving a disability annuity in 1993.

An investigation found he opened Emerald City Charters in 1984 and that he was the main sailboat operator while he was allegedly disabled.

One story on the business featured LaMarche doing yoga on a stand-up paddleboard.