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Fraudulent boat death proves costly

SEPT. 19 — A Georgia man pleaded guilty in federal court last week to charges of distributing crack cocaine and faking his own death, which led to a costly Coast Guard search.

The man, who is 32 and of Savannah, was believed to be dead last September after he reportedly fell off his boat, named God’s Mercy, the Associated Press reported. The Coast Guard launched a search for the man, who went missing three days before he was to be indicted on drug charges.

Police found the man nine months later in Orlando, Fla., and arrested him, the report says. The man’s wife was also arrested; she pleaded guilty to lying to a federal grand jury about her husband’s whereabouts. She claimed that he fell off the boat and drowned.

The man could receive a sentence of up to 20 years in prison for the drug charges and six years for causing the Coast Guard search, the report says. The woman faces up to five years in prison.

— Jason Fell