Egg Harbor Township boater admits he faked death between scams
An Atlantic County professional power boat racer has admitted to faking his own death seven years ago, in an attempt to avoid getting in trouble for a loan scam.
Instead, he’ll now face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million dollar fine after his federal conviction.
Andrew Biddle, 51, of Egg Harbor Township, has pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of causing the U.S. Coast Guard to render unnecessary aid.
In June 2014, Biddle used phony information on a loan application, going by his middle name as “Christopher Biddle,” making up income and asset values and even submitting a fake tax return to secure a $55,000 loan from Southeast Financial Credit Union, according to federal prosecutors.
Within the next month, Biddle was facing theft charges from Egg Harbor Township Police.
So in July 2014, he and a passenger took a boat out of Seavillage Marina in Northfield, riding across Great Egg Harbor Inlet to dinner in Somers Point.
On the way back, Biddle was dropped off between two piers, where he was picked up by car while the other man then intentionally rammed the boat into a buoy, being thrown into the water and making it appear as though Biddle had been lost in an accident, prosecutors said.
The U.S. Coast Guard, State Police and Longport fire and rescue responded to the water and searched for Biddle for two days.
Biddle admitted that at that point, he was already in Florida.
The person who helped Biddle fake his own death was longtime friend and business partner, Justin Belz, according to State Police in 2014 and multiple media reports.
Biddle eventually surrendered to Atlantic County authorities in February 2015, and were released while awaiting trial, so he returned to Florida.
While there, Biddle was jailed on racketeering charges in 2017.
He and Belz were accused of ripping off people in Florida, by taking thousands of dollars in deposits for boats that were either never delivered or partially built.
In March 2020, a federal Grand Jury indicted Biddle on charges stemming from his 2014 scam in New Jersey.
He now faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine on the bank fraud conviction alone, when sentenced in federal court in October.