A U.S. district judge sentenced a Newport, N.C., man to 60 months
probation on Sept. 16, and the court imposed restitution in the amount
of $45,292.78 for a false distress call that resulted in search and
rescue efforts from multiple agencies.
On Sept. 20, 2007, Joe D. Mills Jr. used a handheld VHF radio from
his front yard to fraudulently report a vessel taking on water to Coast
Guard Sector North Carolina. The distress call was recorded and specifically
referenced the Coast Guard.
Coast Guard watchstanders could not reach Mills after he made the call
and $45,000 worth of Coast Guard resources were used searching for him.
Local fire and rescue also spent significant resources. Read