Laurent Marc-Antoine Jean Maubert-Cayla will be sentenced in January

A yacht owner and the unlicensed captain he hired for his illegal charter operation have both pleaded guilty to charges resulting from the death of a passenger last April.

Laurent Marc-Antoine Jean Maubert-Cayla pleaded guilty this week in federal court to misconduct or neglect of a ship officer that resulted in the death of an individual. He’ll be sentenced January 10, 2019

The would-be captain, Mauricio Alvarez, will be sentenced November 28 after pleading guilty to misconduct on a ship resulting in a death.

Maubert-Cayla is 20% owner of Miami Vice, a 91ft yacht available through TM Yachting Charter LLC, and was “primarily responsible for the maintenance and chartering” of the yacht, according to court documents and the Miami Herald.

But the yacht wasn’t insured nor the captain licensed, for charter operations. From November 2017 through the fatal accident, Alvarez played captain on charters though Maubert-Cayla knew he didn’t have a US Coast Guard (USCG) license. Alvarez and TM Yachting Charter got citations on March 18 for operating a commercial charter without a US Coast Guard license. Maubert-Cayla saw Alvarez dock the yacht once and hired him as Miami Vice’s charter captain.

“During this time, Maubert-Cayla also occasionally socialised with Alvarez and learned that Alvarez was a heavy drinker who also frequently used cocaine,” according to the court.

In April, Raul Menendez, 25, was killed in the boat’s propellers after Alvarez made fundamental mistakes.

Menendez and five friends had chartered the boat for a birthday celebration. Alvarez beached the yacht at Monument Island, where the group went swimming. Without notifying passengers of departure, checking to make sure everyone was on board, or having an observer aft, Alvarez started the engines and began to back the boat from the beach. Menendez got pulled into the propellers. The medical examiner found “deep lacerations in the head, chest, heck, pelvis and torso that were consistent with a large yacht propeller repeatedly striking.”

“A reasonable, USCG licensed captain would not have attempted to approach Monument Island in a yacht the size of the Miami Vice,” the documents said, “nor would a reasonable captain have beached the yacht on the island because doing so would require the captain to engage in the act of reversing the large yacht off the island to leave.”