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Justice News

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Vinalhaven Man Pleads Guilty to Making Hoax Radio Call to Coast Guard

Contact: Jonathan R. Chapman
Assistant United States Attorney
Tel: (207) 780-3257

Portland, Maine:  United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced that Owen R. Adair, 23, of Vinalhaven, Maine, pled guilty today in U.S. District Court to a charge of making a false distress message to the United States Coast Guard.

According to court records, on September 30, 2014, Adair initiated a two-way radio conversation using a VHF radio with a radio operator at the United States Coast Guard Sector Northern New England.  In ensuing transmissions, Adair repeatedly told the Coast Guard operator that he urgently needed assistance because a crewman on his fishing vessel had sustained a serious injury and was bleeding badly.  In fact, the defendant was not aboard a vessel but was ashore on Vinalhaven Island and was using a VHS radio in his truck.  There was no injured person. The Coast Guard dispatched a search and rescue vessel from Rockland.  After a four-hour search, the Coast Guard abandoned its efforts and concluded that the distress call was a hoax.

Adair faces up to six years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.  He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.

The investigation was conducted by the Coast Guard Investigative Service.

Updated April 20, 2015