A Tampa man accused of fraudulently selling a professional baseball player's yacht was arrested Monday and charged with grand theft and forgery, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Anthony Acosta, 38, is suspected of selling a yacht in 2013 that belonged to then-Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo, a Hernando High School alumnus now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, fired Acosta as his personal assistant in 2012, according to the FDLE. He had not given Acosta permission to sell the yacht, valued at $167,000 but sold for $22,000, authorities said.
Arroyo, who lives in Tampa, bought the 29.8-foot Concept Boat in 2006 for $167,000. He hired Acosta to maintain it while he was away playing baseball. The arrangement lasted several years.
Then, in 2012, Arroyo fired Acosta, giving him a "generous severance package" and telling him "not to contact" the pitcher anymore, the arrest warrant said. The reason: Acosta had a prescription drug problem and was "making mistakes" in his role as the pitcher's personal assistant.
Acosta called Arroyo in 2013 and told him that his yacht had sunk in Tampa, investigators said. Acosta lied by saying the boat had been salvaged and was transported to a boat yard, where it would need "several thousand" dollars of repairs. Acosta tried to get money from the pitcher, but Arroyo refused, according to a warrant by FDLE agent Charles Bufalino.
Soon, Acosta transported the yacht to Concept Boats yard in Opa-locka. He then sold it to the father of the yard's owner for $22,000, providing a phony bill of sale complete with a forged signature from Arroyo — who knew nothing of the sale and was playing in Cincinnati at the time.
In September 2013, according to the FDLE, the new owner of the yacht, Manuel Avila, discovered a lien on the property and asked for his money back. Authorities said the new owners reached out to Arroyo when Acosta refused.
That was when the MLB pitcher learned that Acosta had forged his signature on a bill of sale, according to the FDLE. The pitcher later paid off the lien and reported Acosta to the police.
In a 2009 video posted to YouTube by Cincinnati.com, Arroyo offers a tour of his boat, Nasty Hook, and refers to Acosta as "Captain Tony," who is identified as Arroyo's childhood friend.
Acosta is being held in the Hillsborough County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. Attorney General Pam Bondi's office plans to handle the prosecution, according to the FDLE.
Information from the Miami Herald was used in this report.