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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.

Component(s): 
Updated April 20, 2015