Deputies raid Boice Jet in boat-resale investigation

Central Point-based boatmaker Boice Jet is the subject of a police investigation alleging it falsified identification numbers on dozens of used boats, then resold them as new.

Early Thursday, more than a dozen Jackson County sheriff's deputies went to Boice Jet in the 5800 block of Crater Lake Highway and served a search warrant at the business.

Sheriff's marine investigator Tom Turk said business owner Court Boice was present and cooperative during the search. Deputies seized business records and other evidence, Turk said.

It appears different (used) boats' hull identification numbers were changed and then sold as new, Turk said. You just can't do that.

Investigators believe identification numbers were illegally altered on as many as 100 used boats sold as new by the company during the past three years. Turk said those boats were sold to people living in several western states.
— Police launched a probe of the business in March. Last month, sheriff's deputies searched a Gold Beach home and recovered a boat sold by Boice Jet that had previously been reported stolen in California. Investigators determined the hull numbers had been changed on the craft before it was resold as new by the Central Point business, Turk said.

No arrests have been made in connection with the investigation, which police say involves allegations of fraud, theft and racketeering. A prosecutor from the Oregon Department of Justice has been assigned to the case, Turk said.

During an afternoon news conference with local media, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters distributed photographs of Court Boice and his son Justin, co-owner of the business. Police stopped short of calling them suspects in the case, which remains under investigation.

Nobody's going to jail right now, Turk said. This investigation has long-reaching tentacles. It's not ended by any means.

Court Boice served eight years on the Oregon State Marine Board before stepping down from the governor-appointed position in June. He said late Thursday that he was still unaware of the allegations, and refused to answer questions about his possible involvement in the investigation.

(Police) showed up with a search warrant and said they needed to go through various business files, Boice said. I am very concerned about my employees and customers.

State marine board Administrator Paul Donheffner said he had heard there was some sort of investigation involving Boice Jet, but that the allegations were an unexpected development.

It does come as a surprise, Donheffner said. Court is a stellar guy ... I have a hard time believing Court participated in any illegal behavior. I don't believe it is in his character.

Donheffner said the marine board is concerned with issues involving the integrity of boat title and manufacturer theft.

Boice Jet, founded in Jackson County in 1996, also owns a retail outlet near Portland.

Reach reporter Jack Moran at 776-4459, or e-mail .

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