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A Vermont man has been accused of killing his mother “on the high seas” in 2016, then staging it to look like a boating accident, in a plot to inherit $7 million.
Nathan Carman was arrested Tuesday on an eight-count indictment charging the 28-year-old with the murder of his mother, Linda Carman, and related fraud counts connected to an alleged years-long scheme to gain access to family money and insurance by killing his grandfather and mother, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Vermont.
“As a central part of this scheme, Nathan Carman murdered John Chakalos and Linda Carman,” authorities said in an indictment obtained by Oxygen.com.
Over the years, authorities say Carman “concocted cover stories to conceal his involvement” in the deaths.
“As part of his cover-up, Nathan Carman misrepresented his involvement in and responsibility for those deaths to law enforcement, to his family, to others who made inquiries about the deaths and their circumstances, and to others who challenged his cover-up or challenged his rights to his grandfather's assets,” authorities wrote.
His alleged crime spree began, according to the unsealed indictment, on Dec. 20, 2013 when investigators allege that Carman fatally shot his grandfather, John Chakalos, twice while he slept at his Windsor, Connecticut home as part of an effort to “defraud” his estate and obtain money from a trust set up for Chakalos’ four daughters, including Linda Carman.
While he is not formally charged with that murder, the indictment alleges that Carman had used a New Hampshire driver’s license to purchase a Sig Sauer rifle more than a month earlier, on Nov. 11, 2013.
Investigators believe Carman tried to “cover up his involvement” in the death by throwing away his computer hard drive and a GPS unit that had been in his truck on the night of the shooting.
He also “falsely denied involvement in the murder” during an interview with investigators and claimed he had never purchased the rifle, according to the indictment.
As a result of his grandfather’s death, prosecutors said Carman received $400,000 from one account and another $150,000 that had been set aside for a college fund on his behalf.
“Carman spent much of this money between 2014 and 2016, during most of which he was unemployed,” the indictment alleges. “By the fall of 2016, he was low on funds.”
That’s when federal authorities say Carman arranged to go on a fishing trip with his mother, aboard his boat, the Chicken Pox.
“Nathan Carman planned to kill his mother on the trip,” authorities said.
The pair left the Ram Point Marina in South Kingstown, Rhode Island at approximately 11:13 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2016 and set out on a trip that Linda believed would conclude around noon the next day.
However, the boat never returned. The Coast Guard began an “extensive search and rescue mission” on September 18, 2016 that continued for a week until Carman was found on an inflatable life raft by a commercial ship, the Orient Lucky, according to the indictment.
He told the Coast Guard that when the boat had started to fill with water, he quickly swam to a life raft and called for his mother but didn’t see her, according to WCVB.
Authorities believe the incident had been part of a calculated plan and said in the indictment that before the voyage, Carman had altered the boat, removing two forward bulkheads and removing trim tabs from the transom of the hull.
They’ve alleged that he killed his mother before the boat sank, then reported the incident as a tragic accident. Carman had been slated to get about $7 million from the estate as his mother's sole heir, according to The Associated Press.
Carman spoke to WCVB after the incident in September of 2016.
“I feel healthy,” he said at the time. “Emotionally, I’ve been through a huge amount.”
The next month, Carman tried to present an insurance claim to Boat U.S. for approximately $85,000 for the loss of the boat, but the claim was ultimately denied.
The company also prevailed in federal court after Carman had tried to challenge the denial.
He was taken into custody on Tuesday after a multi-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Coast Guard, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Connecticut State Police, the Windsor Police Department and the South Kingstown Police Department.
If convicted of the charges against him, Carman would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
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