A southern New Jersey man has become the fourth person to plead guilty in a botched attempt to sink a fishing boat to collect insurance.

Erik James of Goshen, Cape May County, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to destroy the boat Alexander II in August 2009.

The owner of the boat and two other men pleaded guilty last month. James faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced in March. The coconspirators also will be responsible for restitution to the Coast Guard and others.

The U.S. Attorney's Office contends the defendants sought $400,000 in insurance money. They allegedly took the boat to a point about 86 miles southeast of Cape May and tried unsuccessfully to sink it, after falsifying the ship's log.

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