A federal judge has thrown the book at a Detroit teenager for making a prank distress call to the Coast Guard.

It’s something the Coast Guard takes deadly serious — fake distress calls that require both time and personnel. The 19-year-old Andre Cheatom of Detroit found that out Tuesday, when Federal Judge George Steeh sentenced the teen to 18 months in prison and three years probation.

Judge Steeh took into account the teen’s prior criminal record and his role in the offense.

 The details of the call were not released, but Coast Guard officials says they want everyone to know this isn’t funny. Petty Officer George Denegner says Cheatom will also have to pay more than $14,000 in restitution.

“Search and rescue is a big part of our budget and it’s what we’re here for…the Coast Guard or the U.S. Attorney may attempt to recoup any costs for rescues in the event that you are found guilty of making a false distress call,” Deneger said.

Degener said, besides the costs, fake distress calls require a full response that could be used for an actual emergency.

(Copyright 2010 WWJ Radio.  All Rights Reserved.)

  1. Sally Hart says:

    Way to go Judge.

  2. Kwame says:

    Not a great job judge, You just took a 19 year old with possibilities and created a criminal for decades to come. Write off the cost as a drill. How often do practice drills occur, and how much do they cost? Was there an actual emergency? Fake calls are bad, but not worth destroying someone over. Bad move Andre, but 18months in PRISON is wrong. He should have to do community service and possibly report to a JAIL on weekends for a while. I will not endorse Judge Steeh. He is wrong.

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