WINTHROP MAN SENTENCED TO PRISON TIME FOR SEARCH & RESCUE HOAX
BOSTON, MA - A Winthrop man was sentenced yesterday in federal court for making a false distress call, causing the United States Coast Guard to launch a four-hour search for a non-existent sinking ship, and later making a false statement about the incident to the United States Coast Guard.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and William Schenkelberg, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service in the New England Region, announced today that JOHN MICHAEL D’ADDIECO, age 21, of Winthrop, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William G. Young to 3 months imprisonment, to be followed by 6 months of home confinement, which will be part of a 2-year period of supervised release ordered by the Court. Judge Young also ordered D’ADDIECO to pay $56,459.70 in restitution to the United States Coast Guard. D’ADDIECO pled guilty to one count of making a false distress call and one count of making a false statement on October 22, 2009.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “Our national emergency response systems are critical, and the United States Coast Guard plays a key role in keeping us safe on the seas. False distress calls such don't just waste public funds, they needlessly endanger Coast Guard personnel as well as those whom the Coast Guard protects.”
"When the Coast Guard dispatches its vessels and aircraft in hoax cases, it drains our limited resources, needlessly puts our personnel at risk, and prevents other safety, security or environmental protection missions from being conducted," said Rear Admiral Joe Nimmich, Commander of the First Coast Guard District. "This sentence enforces the important message that there will be criminal consequences for perpetrators of hoax distress calls."
William Schenkelberg, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service in the New England Region stated, "The U.S. Coast Guard and CGIS take maritime hoax calls very seriously. This matter was successfully investigated and prosecuted through close coordination and cooperation between the USCG 1st District, USCG Legal, CGIS and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of MA. This sentence proves the great work to all involved."
At the earlier plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that on September 14, 2007, while working on board a cruise ship traveling in Boston Harbor, D’ADDIECO called 911 from his cell phone and, claiming to be a person named Tim, reported that he was on a 27-foot boat called the Nothing But Trouble out of Winthrop Harbor. D’ADDIECO also reported that the boat was sinking near Boston Light with four passengers on board. In fact, no such boat was sinking near Boston Light. In response to D’ADDIECO’S call, the Coast Guard deployed a Jayhawk helicopter and a 41-foot rescue boat to search for the Nothing But Trouble and her crew. The search and follow up investigation lasted approximately four hours and cost over $50,000.
After the Coast Guard determined that the call came from D’ADDIECO’s cell phone, Coast Guard investigators went to interview D’ADDIECO who falsely told the investigators that someone had borrowed his cell phone and falsely identified the individual.
The case was investigated by the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan M. DiSantis of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.