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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fair Haven Man Pleads Guilty to Making Hoax Emergency Calls to U.S. Coast Guard

BOSTON – A Fair Haven man pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with sending three false distress messages to the U.S. Coast Guard over the radio.

Roger Martin, 47, of Fair Haven, Mass., pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with three counts of sending false distress messages to the U.S. Coast Guard and one count of identity fraud.  U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Nov. 22, 2016. 

In April and May 2015, Martin made three calls to the U.S. Coast Guard claiming that he was on a boat on Cape Cod Canal that was sinking.  During each call, Martin impersonated another resident of Fair Haven and provided that resident’s name, street address and, on one occasion, date of birth.  Martin obtained the date of birth by improperly using a law enforcement database when he was previously employed as a Bristol Sheriff’s County dispatcher.  In response to the calls, the U.S. Coast Guard and local law enforcement expended resources ascertaining that there was no true emergency and attempting to track the hoax caller.

The charge of sending false distress messages provides for a sentence of no greater than six years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and a civil penalty of $10,000 on each count.The charge of identity fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, one year of supervised release, forfeiture and a fine of $250,000.Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Rear Admiral Steven D. Poulin, Commander, First Coast Guard District, U.S. Coast Guard, made the announcement.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Giselle J. Joffre of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.

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Updated August 24, 2016