Ohio Man Must Pay $490,000 for False Distress Call

Byline: Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) — Authorities said an Ohio man who pleaded guilty to making a false distress call that prompted a massive search on Lake Erie must serve three months in federal custody and pay nearly $490,000 in restitution for a massive Coast Guard search and rescue effort.

Federal prosecutors said 21-year-old Danik Shiv Kumar, of Sandusky, was sentenced Aug. 19 in Cleveland on one count of making a false distress call. Court documents stated Kumar called a control tower after taking off for a solo flight from Cleveland on March 14, 2012.

Prosecutors said U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard crews searched for hours after Kumar reported seeing a boat sending up flares and carrying passengers. Authorities said he admitted about a month later that he did not see either a boat in distress or passengers.

At press time, Kumar’s attorney had not returned a call for comment.

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