Andrew Biddle—the champion powerboat racer who authorities suspected of faking his own death in a boating accident—surrendered in Atlantic County Superior Court today. Biddle and a friend were supposedly in a boat that crashed into a buoy off of Longport (N.J.) last July. The friend swam to shore and said he hadn't seen Biddle after the crash, triggering an 18-hour search involving boats and helicopters.
With Tracy Blumenstein, Biddle won the P1 Superstock U.S. Championships—an offshore powerboat racing series—in both 2012 and 2013. Biddle and Blumenstein also owned Professional Boat Sales in Egg Harbor (N.J.), and were facing charges that they scammed numerous customers. Without a body, police suspected that Biddle might have faked his own death to get out of his legal troubles. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
A number of criminal complaints this year against Biddle and Blumenstein, provided by the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office, allege they conned customers.
In May 2013, according to one record, they sold a boat and trailer for $17,000, plus taxes and fees, through the company and never provided the owner of the property with compensation. Another filing states that in 2012, Biddle sold a motor as new even though it had been used for more than 150 hours.
The pair are also accused of failing to provide a pontoon boat to a man who paid a $20,000 deposit for it in March 2013.
It is unclear why Biddle has returned from his seven months on the lam. His lawyer told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Biddle "voluntarily returned from wherever he was, when he probably could have stayed their ad infinitum," adding that in a phone call last week he said he "wanted to step up and do the right thing."