A Florida fisherman who won the $2.8 Million Championship Prize in the World’s Largest Billfish Tournament has just lost the largest catch of his life as a judge decides to rule against his victory.
Professional Angler Phil Heasley made his claim to the money when he caught a monstrous 76.5-pound white marlin during last summer’s White Marlin Open off the coast Maryland.
Regardless of his claim to victory, however, a Baltimore Federal Judge considered Heasley's actions during the contest a disqualification Wednesday, finding that he broke tournament rules after it was proven he failed two separate polygraph tests administered to the winners of the contest to prevent cheating by any participants.
During the ruling, the Judge also cited the facts that Heasley and his crew broke the rules by dropping fishing lines before the tournament’s start time to anticipate an unfair advantage, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun.
The ruling will know the result of the prize money being redistributed amongst other fishermen from the contest, with the majority of the proceeds going to an angler from New Jersey.
In a two-week-long trial to ensure his attempt at the vindication of some sort and claim the prize, Heasley's testimony stated that the lie detector test was incorrect and he had not cheated. “We maintain that Mr. Heasely and his crew abided by all of the tournament rules and regulations,” his attorney said, according to a report in the Delmarva Daily Times.
Jim Motsko, the acting President of the White Marlin Open stated that “The odds all the polygraphs were done wrong was less than one percent,” he told the paper. “There was a whole lot riding on this including our integrity, the tournament’s integrity, and we upheld our end of the contract."