PORTLAND, Maine: A Rockland man was sentenced today in federal court for making a hoax distress call, Acting U.S. Attorney Donald E. Clark announced.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen sentenced Nathan Libby, 32, to time served (four days) and three years of supervised release. Libby was also ordered to pay $17,500 in restitution to the U.S. Coast Guard. He pleaded guilty on June 3, 2021.
According to court records, on December 3, 2020, while at the Spruce Head Fisherman’s Co-op, Libby communicated a false distress call for a vessel and crew reportedly taking on water in the vicinity of Spruce Head. In response, the Coast Guard initiated a search spanning more than five hours, which included the use of a local Coast Guard vessel, a Maine Marine Patrol vessel, and a helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod. Further investigation identified Libby as the caller and the search was suspended as a hoax call.
The Coast Guard pursues all distress calls, and when dealing with hoax cases, crews will search until the nature and legitimacy of the calls are resolved.
“I applaud the collaborative efforts of the Department of Justice, Maine Marine Patrol, Rockland Police Department, and the United States Coast Guard in bringing this case to a close and ensuring accountability for Mr. Libby’s actions,” said Capt. Brian LeFebvre, Sector Commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “Hoax calls like the call Mr. Libby placed unnecessarily put our rescue crews at risk, waste resources, and may limit our ability to respond to actual emergencies.”
The U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Maine Marine Patrol and Coast Guard Sector Northern New England investigated the case.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of Maine