Miami Party Boat Owner Sentenced After Running Illegal Charters

Seth Gissen is the first person prosecuted in the U.S. under these circumstances.

The No Rules II is finding there are rules after all. The one-time party boat and its owner are now paying the price.

Seth Gissen, the boat’s owner, was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to a federal charge for disobeying a direct order not to operate a charter boat —a felony that could have led to six years behind bars and a $250,000 fine. Instead, a federal judge gave him credit for time already served in the federal lockup, a $96,000 fine, probation for five years that includes not to go to the dock or near any boat including a cruise ship.

In August, NBC 6 reported about Gissen’s yacht called the No Rules Two. Prosecutors say it was an appropriate name because it was an illegal charter being run from a high-end South Florida neighborhood. Court records call it an illegal operation and says Gissen was charging people to board. Social media pumped up the wild times at sea. The postings showed women in bathing suits, drinks being served and dance music played in the background.

The parties annoyed neighbors, who recorded video of what they called chaotic weekends in the gated Baypoint residential community near downtown Miami. At the time, neighbor Johan Soan told NBC 6, “He’s constantly having a party on his boat and then when they return a lot of them are intoxicated, are trashed. Sometimes there are fights.”

The frustrated neighbors called police to Gissen’s property almost 50 times.

NBC 6 exclusively obtained 911 calls from land and sea. One woman called from the No Rules II said there’s been an assault. Another woman called from Gissen’s home and said she was attacked after taking a shower.

Another caller told police she was witnessing a drug overdose, telling the 911 dispatcher “some kid has been convulsing on the bed and the owner will not let anyone in the room or anyone to call the ambulance. It’s still happening and he is definitely having an overdose.”

Gissen’s attorney Joel Hirschhorn told us that his client never did damage to property, or hurt anyone, and would never refuse to get a person medical assistance.

A private security guard for the development couldn’t handle the trouble one day and needed police after a woman was hurt in a fight. He told the 911 operator, “The owner said she got really got beat bad. She got scars and everything on her face.”

While the neighbors couldn’t stop the party, the Coast Guard ultimately did.

Gissen’s lawyer told the judge he has taken full responsibility and expects to be appropriately punished.

Hirschhorn told us after leaving the courthouse, “We live in the sun and fun capital of the world. Regrettably, there are a lot of people who have big boats who charter them out illegally. He (the judge) needed to send a message. I think he sent the appropriate message. My client is extraordinarily lucky he received a sentence of probation.”

Gissen’s attorney says he’s already in the process of selling the No Rules II. The Coast Guard says it remains on the lookout for illegal charters worried about people getting hurt or killed. Gissen’s neighbors hope they’ll now be able to get a good night’s rest—finally.

Coast Guard investigators and federal prosecutors said Friday that Seth Gissen is the first person prosecuted in the U.S. under these circumstances.

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