BOSTON — A Fairhaven man was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court to one year of probation and ordered to pay $7,182.50 (£5654) in restitution to the Coast Guard after pleading guilty in August to sending three false distress messages claiming he was on a sinking boat in the Cape Cod Canal.
Roger Martin, 47, pleaded guilty to three counts of sending false distress messages to the U.S. Coast Guard and one count of identity fraud, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice. The charges stem from incidents that occurred in April and May 2015.
During each call, Martin impersonated another resident of Fairhaven and gave that resident’s name, address, and in one instance a date of birth, according to the statement. Martin obtained the person’s birth date by improperly using a law enforcement database when he previously worked as a dispatcher at the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office.
The Coast Guard and local law enforcement were required to dispatch resources to the call before realizing it was a hoax, prosecutors said.
Sending a false distress message can carry a sentence of up to six years in prison. The probation and restitution were a recommendation as part of Martin's plea deal, and Judge Richard Stearns concurred with the terms, according to court documents.