SAN DIEGO (CN) – A San Diego man was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for making phony distress calls to the Coast Guard, claiming he was on a sinking ship.
Sean M. Berry, 47, actually made the calls from his home near National City, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He admitted making the bogus calls, “‘Emergency, emergency, emergency, Mayday, Mayday, Mayday,’ on VHF-FM channel 16, the maritime international distress and calling frequency,” prosecutors said in a statement.
The statement continued: “He claimed that there were three people on board his vessel, including a child, and that the vessel was ‘going down’ and the occupants were ‘jumping in the water.'”
The Coast Guard sent a search boat that looked for him for more than an hour.
“Berry admitted that there was no vessel in distress and that he made the transmissions from his home near National City,” prosecutors said. “Berry further admitted that, on or about January 1, 2011, he transmitted ‘Mayday, Mayday, Mayday’ on VHF-FM channel 16 from his home when there was no vessel in distress.”
In addition to prison for his lark, Berry was order to pay $6,906 in restitution to the Coast Guard, the cost of the search for him.