A Detroit resident was convicted and sentenced in federal court for making a false distress call to the Coast Guard, according to U.S. attorney Barbara McQuade and Capt. Stephen Torpey, chief of incident management for the Ninth Coast Guard District.
Andre D. Cheatom, 19, was sentenced to 18 months incarceration, supervised release for three years, a special assessment of $100, and ordered to pay $14,302 in restitution for knowingly and willfully causing the Coast Guard to attempt to save lives and property when no help was needed, in violation of Title 14, U.S. Code, section 88(c).
"When members of the Coast Guard respond to a hoax call, they are diverted from people in actual distress," McQuade said. "We take a hard line on these cases because we want to deter people from making hoax calls."
"I am concerned that there are people willing to risk the lives of other boaters who might be in legitimate need of rescue or assistance, as well as needlessly endangering response crews, by knowingly making a false distress call," said Capt. Stephen Torpey, chief of incident management for the Ninth Coast Guard District. "This conviction demonstrates the lengths we will go to ensure those who make hoax calls are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."