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Shipbuilding Executives Face Decades in Prison Over Fraud Scheme

The married couple allegedly spent investors’ dollars on homes, a luxury car, cannabis and psychics.

The husband-and-wife owners of a purported Hawaiian boat manufacturer face decades in prison after allegedly defrauding hundreds of people over the course of more than a decade.

Curtiss Jackson and Jamey Denise Jackson were the CEO and president, respectively, of Honolulu-based Semisub Inc. According to an indictment unsealed this week, federal prosecutors allege that the couple told potential investors that money raised from the sale of securities in the company would be used to develop and build a commercial fleet of semi-submersible vessels, primarily for tourism operations.

The Jacksons raised over $28 million from more than 400 investors over the course of 10 years, during which they insisted that a prototype “Semisub One” vessel was mere weeks or months away. Instead, however, prosecutors said a substantial portion of that money went toward extravagant personal expenditures, including luxury homes in Hawaii and California, a Mercedes-Benz vehicle, vacations, cannabis, and psychics.

The couple also allegedly claimed that the company had reached agreements with — or developed relationships with — government agencies and a prominent private equity firm for an additional fleet, whose boats would cost $32 million each.

What’s more, the couple continued to sell securities in Pennsylvania and California, despite Curtiss Jackson and Semisub being barred from doing so in 2008 and 2009.

Curtiss and Jamey Jackson were each charged with securities fraud, conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud. Each count has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Semisub’s website, meanwhile, still maintained as of Tuesday afternoon that construction of a newly designed vessel was scheduled for “the summer and fall of 2020” — and urging visitors to “check in often.”

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