TORONTO — The wife of “Shark Tank” star Kevin O’Leary has been charged with careless operation of a vessel in a fatal boat crash in Canada, authorities said Tuesday.
Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Carolle Dionne said 56-year-old Linda O’Leary of Toronto is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 29.
Two boats crashed Aug. 24 on Lake Joseph near Seguin, Ontario, killing 64-year-old Gary Poltash of Florida and a 48-year-old woman identified as Susanne Brito, a mother of three.
Kevin O’Leary said after the crash that he wasn’t piloting the boat at the time.
Police have also charged 67-year-old Richard Ruh of Orchard Park, New York, with failing to exhibit navigation lights while underway. Ruh was the operator of the other boat.
Dionne declined to give specifics on why O’Leary was charged with careless operation of a vessel because the matter is now before the courts.
Dionne said the maximum penalty O’Leary faces is 18 months imprisonment or a $1 million fine.
Brian Greenspan, O’Leary’s lawyer, said it is regrettable and inappropriate that police have decided to charge her with a “regulatory offense under the shipping act.”
“She has always been a cautious and experienced boater who came into collision with an unlit craft on a dark and moonless night,” she said. “The other boat was sitting in a dark spot on a lake, no cottage lights nearby, no moon.”
Greenspan said the maximum penalty is not eight months imprisonment or a $1 million fine. He said it’s $10,000.
“They are absolutely wrong. That applies to ocean-going vessels. The pleasure craft provision is a maximum $10,000 fine,” he said.
Greenspan said any suggestion or rumor that Kevin O’Leary was operating to the boat is false. “Unequivocally, clearly, without any risk of contradiction he was not the driver. He was a passenger,” Greenspan said.
Kevin O’Leary ran for the leadership of Canada’s Conservative party in 2017 but later dropped out.
The Canadian businessman confirmed that he was at the scene of the accident at Lake Joseph in Ontario, Canada in a statement provided to USA TODAY by representative Nancy Cheung in August.
“On late Saturday night I was a passenger in a boat that was involved in a tragic collision with another watercraft that had no navigation lights on and then fled the scene,” his statement read. “I am fully cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation.”
Kevin O’Leary’s statement continued, “Out of respect for the victims families and to fully support the ongoing investigation I feel it is inappropriate to make further comments at this time. My heartfelt prayers and condolences to the victims, the families and those affected by this loss.”
Contributing: USA Today