PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WTNH) — Nathan Carmen took the stand on Thursday during his insurance trial.
The Middletown native is being sued over an $85,000 insurance claim he made on his boat before it sank.
His testimony began with questions about an increase in his insurance policy.
That increase was made in March of 2016 — months before he and his mother went on a fishing trip off of Rhode Island in September.
Carman said he increased the policy because he added GPS and other technology to the boat.
He was also questioned about a bilge pump he replaced a day before the boat sank.
National Liability and Fire Insurance Company claimed Carman made changes to the boat, making it unsafe.
He talked about removing four trim tabs from the boat and using putty, not fiberglass, to patch them.
He said he was not sure if he used a saw to rough the edges of the holes but he did not make them bigger.
During his testimony, he was questioned about why he didn’t call for help when the boat was sinking even though months before he called the Coast Guard when he had engine trouble with land in sight.
He said he had a deep aversion to hitting the button and having a helicopter come out unless he knew for sure the boat was sinking.
He was also asked why his mother didn’t try to talk to him after he shut off the boat’s engine and was putting three bags on the deck to prepare in case the boat sank.
Carman’s attorney then took over questioning and had him talk about the problems he has had with algae in his fuel tanks.
The defense claims the boat was old and had issues when he bought it.
A woman, who claimed to know Carman, told reporters outside the federal courthouse that he should be able to collect the $85,000 from the insurance company.
“Ummm, because I believe when he purchased the boat that it was already altered so …,” said Alicante Patton.
When asked is he was guilty of any other crimes, Patton declined to comment.
Carman was rescued from a life raft eight days after the boat sank. His mother was never found and is presumed dead.
Her sisters believe Carman killed his mother and his grandfather John Chakalos so he could inherit some of his $44 million estate.