WEST NEWBURY — A Beverly boat broker charged with spending $42,750 of a client’s money to pay for his daughter’s wedding and other expenses was arraigned in Newburyport District Court on a single count of larceny over $1,200.
John Clayman, 68, of Hale Street denied the charge during his arraignment Wednesday, saying he paid back the money prior to his court appearance.
Judge Allen Swan released Clayman on personal recognizance but ordered him to have no contact with his West Newbury client. Clayman is due back in court Nov. 18 for a pretrial hearing.
A boat broker is akin to a real estate agent who connects boat dealers to buyers and collects a commission, West Newbury police Officer Richard Parenteau explained in his report dated Aug. 2.
Parenteau wrote that the victim came to the police station July 2 to report that Clayman, who runs Seaton Yachts based out of Newport, Rhode Island, took $42,750 left in an account after the sale of a 1981 Mariner 38 sailboat in September 2020 and used it for personal expenses.
The West Newbury man told the officer that Clayman admitted spending the money but agreed to pay it back, plus 5 percent interest, by June 2. But when June 2 came and went, Clayman had yet to pay back the loan.
The money was in an escrow account because the sale, which was consummated a year ago, could not be completed until the sailboat was registered with the U.S. Coast Guard. Due to COVID-19 related delays, the Coast Guard was trying to catch up with a backlog of registration applications, according to Parenteau.
A week after the June 2 deadline, the West Newbury man’s attorney told Clayman he would report him to the police if he did not repay the loan. Clayman emailed the attorney, saying he would commit suicide due to humiliation if the authorities were contacted.
On July 1, the West Newbury man’s attorney sent Clayman a letter to say he would report him to the attorney general’s office and local police.
The Beverly Police Department was also notified due to Clayman’s claim that he would kill himself. Clayman was safe when Beverly police arrived at his home and tried to shift blame to the West Newbury man, according to Parenteau’s report.
“It appears Mr. Clayman intentionally took the funds intended for (the victim),” Parenteau wrote in his report. “The funds were kept in an escrow account and taken out by Mr. Clayman for personal use, despite (the victim) entrusting Mr. Clayman as a broker to perform and uphold his duties. (The victim) initially sympathized with Mr. Clayman and gave him an opportunity to repay what he owed, by reaching a loan agreement, which Mr. Clayman signed. Mr. Clayman kept telling (the victim) he would repay the funds, but constantly had an excuse of why he could not and has not (repaid) any amount.”
But in court Wednesday, Clayman told Swan that he had paid back what he called a 60-day loan to the West Newbury man and should not be charged.
An assistant district attorney told Swan she would look into Clayman’s claim in time for the November court date.
Dave Rogers is a staff writer with The Daily News. Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.