RALEIGH — A North Carolina man is heading to federal prison for making false distress calls to the U.S. Coast Guard, triggering a massive search for a sinking boat that didn't exist.
Homer Lewis Blackburn was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to serve 18 months in prison and pay $288,000 in restitution.
The 27-year-old pleaded guilty in May to using a CB radio mounted to the balcony of his Atlantic Beach apartment to make "mayday" calls claiming he was abandoning a sinking boat near Cape Lookout. Blackburn then watched from his home as helicopters and boats sped out to attempt a rescue.
Blackburn was arrested after a female acquaintance told authorities he bragged about making the false calls. He later admitted guilt, telling investigators he thought it was funny.