FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Colin Chisholm III called himself Scottish royalty, lived on a $1.2 million yacht docked in an extravagant South Florida marina and had millions tucked away in various bank accounts.

Now, the former Maine resident likely is headed to prison for 21 months after admitting he hid those details of his life so he and his wife, Andrea, could collect food stamps, Medicaid and welfare from the state of Minnesota while living in Florida.

Chisholm, 62, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of wrongfully obtaining public assistance and one count of theft by swindle of more than $35,000, according to officials in Hennepin County, Minn., where the charges were filed.

He admitted receiving benefits he “really wasn’t entitled to,” telling a judge, “I’m taking full responsibility for that.”

“What (the Chisholms) did was abominable, stealing from the government and the taxpayers while living a luxurious lifestyle,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement.

Chisholm was born in Salem, Massachusetts, and grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Virginia Chisholm, his ex-wife, told the Portland Press Herald for a story published in April. His mother, Mary Chisholm, won a seat in the Maine Senate in 1965 – the first female Democrat to do so.

Minnesota authorities say Colin and Andrea Chisholm illegally collected more than $167,000 in benefits from the state between 2005 and 2012. During part of that time, they were renting a waterfront house in Lighthouse Point and staying in a yacht at Turnberry Isle in Aventura.

They continued receiving assistance from Minnesota while living in Florida, even getting taxpayers to cover the $22,000 bill from the Palm Beach hospital where Andrea Chisholm gave birth in 2007.

Meanwhile, the couple referred to themselves as “Lord and Lady Chisholm” and indulged in fine dining and trips across the country. Colin Chisholm claimed to have more than $97 million in assets as he tried to convince people to invest in his Caribbean television company, TCN Networks, a Portland-based business he formed in the early 1990s.

Chisholm also portrayed himself as a descendant of prominent Maine industrialist Hugh J. Chisholm, a Portland entrepreneur who founded International Paper. A review by the Press Herald of online genealogy databases failed to find a link between Colin and Hugh Chisholm.

Although investigators said the Chisholms also received assistance from the Sunshine State, their home from 2005 to 2008, they won’t face charges in Florida.

A five-month investigation was opened by the Division of Public Assistance Fraud in response to the allegations, according to Ashley Carr, a spokeswoman for Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

But it ended in a determination from the Broward State Attorney’s Office that the statute of limitations had run out, she said. The statute prevents charges from being filed when a certain amount of time elapses after the alleged crime’s occurrence.

“Colin and Andrea Chisholm will, however, be held accountable for their actions,” Carr wrote in an email to the Sun Sentinel, referring to the Hennepin County case.

The two were arrested in late March at Port Everglades after being deported from the Bahamas, where authorities say they hid after learning of the case against them. They were held in Broward County jail cells before being extradited to Minnesota to face the charges.

Andrea Chisholm, 54, pleaded guilty in August to aiding and abetting public assistance fraud and is set to be released from prison next month. She admitted signing welfare benefit forms filled out by her husband.

At first, Colin Chisholm seemed to be heading toward trial. Months ago, he turned down the same plea deal he accepted Monday, according to his former attorney, Thomas Kelly.

“I guess he said, ‘Enough’s enough; I’m going to plead guilty,'” Kelly said.

In court on Monday, Colin Chisholm admitted filling out forms that allowed the couple to wrongfully receive benefits. His formal sentencing is set for January, with prosecutors asking that he serve 21 months behind bars.

Under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, neither of the Chisholms would have faced prison time.

But as part of their plea deals, they acknowledged committing a “major economic offense,” which paved the way for tougher penalties.

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