Palm Beach County man who faked disappearance at sea to pay $1 million

Posted at 9:08 AM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-09 13:22:03-04

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A Palm Beach County man who authorities say faked getting lost at sea has agreed to pay $1 million to cover the cost of the pointless U.S. Coast Guard search.

The Sun Sentinel reports that 46-year-old Richard Ohrn pleaded guilty on Monday to communicating a false distress message. Paying restitution is part of a plea agreement. He could still be sentenced to up to six years in prison but will likely receive probation.

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Authorities say Ohrn set a blood-stained boat adrift in the Atlantic Ocean in March 2015. A report says he then used an inflatable boat to travel back ashore and flee to Georgia.

Authorities say he was trying to escape mounting costs from a lawsuit. The incident triggered a search by air and sea.