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Press Release

Couple Stages Wife's Disappearance to Avoid North Carolina Criminal Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

Contact Person: Brad Parham (843) 665-6688

Florence, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Paul David Arrington, age 46, of Lowell, North Carolina and Amy Lynette Arrington, age 44, of Lowell, North Carolina each pled guilty in federal court in Florence, to conspiracy to communicate a false distress message, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.  United States District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks of Florence accepted the guilty plea today of Paul Arrington and will impose his sentence after she has reviewed the presentence reports which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.  Judge Hendricks accepted Amy Arrington’s guilty plea on June 17, 2015, and on October 20, 2015 imposed a sentence of 30 months imprisonment and ordered restitution in the amount of $47,597.80.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearings established that Paul and Amy Arrington conspired to fake the disappearance of Amy in order for her to avoid having to face charges pending against her in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.  On July 5, 2014, the couple drove from Gastonia, North Carolina to North Myrtle Beach where Amy went into the water for a short period of time, then, as planned, left the beach and made her way to Florida.  Paul then falsely reported to a life guard on the beach that Amy was missing.  As a result of the false report, multiple agencies, including the United States Coast Guard, responded in a futile search for Amy.  Law enforcement agencies eventually detected the fraud and Amy turned herself in to authorities in North Carolina.

Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty for conspiracy to communicate a false distress message is imprisonment for 5 years and/or a fine of $250,000.

The case was investigated by agents of the Coast Guard Investigative Service, the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Horry County Fire/Rescue.  Assistant United States Attorney A. Bradley Parham of the Florence office is prosecuting the case.


Updated October 21, 2015