Man charged in fake Cape Cod Canal distress calls sentenced

dojBOSTON – A Fairhaven man was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with sending three false distress messages to the U.S. Coast Guard over the radio about a fake emergency in the Cape Cod Canal.

Roger Martin, 47, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to one year of probation and ordered him to pay $7,182 in restitution to the U.S. Coast Guard. 

In August 2016, Martin pleaded guilty to three counts of sending false distress messages to the U.S. Coast Guard and one count of identity fraud. 

Martin, in three separate calls, claimed that he was on a boat in the Cape Cod Canal that was sinking.  During the calls he impersonated a resident of Fairhaven, providing a name, street address and, on one occasion, date of birth. 

Martin had obtained the date of birth through the improper use of a law enforcement database through his former employment as a Bristol Country Sheriff’s dispatcher.  In response to the calls, the U.S. Coast Guard and local law enforcement expended resources ascertaining that there was no true emergency and attempting to track down the hoax caller.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Richard Cox, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and Chief Michael Myers of the Fairhaven Police Department, made the announcement.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Giselle J. Joffre of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.

Media release provided by U.S. Attorney

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