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Boater sentenced for fraud

A former Texas businessman who was charged with faking his own death after crashing his go-fast into a barge was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to serve seven years in prison.

Larry M. Nixon, who is 56 and of ClearLake, was also ordered to pay $9 million in restitution and $3.5 million in fines, the Associated Press reported. Last September Nixon pleaded guilty to defrauding two banks in a plot to purchase nonexistent cranes.

On Aug. 27, 2003, Nixon’s unoccupied 40-foot Baja, Living Extra Fast, collided with a barge in GalvestonBay. Coast Guard officials spent several days searching for Nixon, but were unsuccessful. Authorities, after an investigation, charged that Nixon staged his death because his company, Delta Crane, was being sued for $4 million to $5 million, the report says. Nixon apparently tricked two banks into financing the purchase of cranes that did not exist.

Authorities found and arrested Nixon Jan. 9, 2004, on an unrelated charge. He was living near Fort Worth, Texas, the report says, and was using the alias “Patrick Hudgens.”

— Jason Fell