Brazoria County Texas resident indicted for sending false distress signal

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HOUSTON — David Matthew Geissen, 21, has been arrested following the return of an indictment alleging he communicated a false distress message to the Coast Guard, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Geissen, of Danbury, was arrested Thursday without incident.

The sealed indictment was returned Dec. 12, 2013, and unsealed upon his arrest. He made his initial appearance in Galveston Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge John R. Froeschner, at which time he was permitted release on bond pending further criminal proceedings.

The indictment alleges that on or about March 22, 2013, Geissen communicated the false distress message by firing red flares into the sky. The Coast Guard deployed in an attempt to save lives and property when, in fact, no help was needed.

If convicted, Geissen faces up to six years in federal prison as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

“Making a false report or false distress call can have severe consequences,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert B. Maddox, an operations specialist at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston. “Not only does it expend our resources for legitimate cases, but it puts our crews at an unnecessary risk as well.”

The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and Freeport Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Robert Stabe is prosecuting.

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