Guy, 21, Owes $489K After Fake Emergency Call
Danik Kumar was worried he'd sound stupid
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Apr 23, 2014 11:18 AM CDT
Ice covers Lake Erie west of downtown Cleveland Friday, Feb. 28, 2014.   (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

(Newser) – When he was 19, Danik Kumar made a distress call that resulted in an unnecessary 21-hour, 70-person search on Lake Erie. The Ohio man, now 21, told emergency workers that, while flying a small plane, he'd spotted four people on a boat sending out flares. Seems that wasn't quite the case: The college freshman later told investigators the boat was a fiction, though he thought he had seen one flare. Now he'll have to pay $489,000 in restitution to the US and Canadian Coast Guards; he was also sentenced to three months in prison, the AP reports.

Why not tell the truth? Kumar kept going with the more elaborate story because he worried he'd sound stupid otherwise, thus losing his shot at working for the Coast Guard, the AP reports. He pleaded guilty to a false call. A federal appeals court upheld the sentence: It may be "an onerous burden on the shoulders of a young man," but it's necessary to help prevent something like this from happening again."I'm not defending what he did, but it's an awful large penalty to pay," says Kumar's lawyer, who's considering a further appeal. "He's never going to recover—on some level—from this." He has already served his jail time and quit school, his lawyer says, via Reuters.

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Apr 24, 2014 6:01 AM CDT
I want to know where Harold was when Kumar did this.?
Apr 23, 2014 9:08 PM CDT
Deadbeat dads? What does that have to with this guy, except that deadbeat moms outnumber deadbeat dads percentage wise by over 50%? Oh, and that has just as much to do with the doesn't...
Ezekiel 25:17
Apr 23, 2014 8:52 PM CDT
We need more of this kind of penalty. I can suggest to the city how to trace his income even if he moves out of state. Most states have now joined the child support income tracking network. That means as a business submits state tax payments deducted for its employees, those states gather that information in a national database to track deadbeat fathers when they move out of state to avoid payment. So the state owed can then attach the wages in all 50 states where a deadbeat dad may move. How it can help someone else wanting to catch a deadbeat mover is to use it to track someone who's not even a father. I know our state allows a judge to issue an order to the network to reveal income of someone even if they do not owe child support.