Man accused of faking disappearance at sea facing charges

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ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – A South Florida 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.

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.

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