A Gloucester woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to making a fake distress call involving her ex-boyfriend.
According to federal prosecutors, 29-year-old Ashley Strum-Smith called in a false report to the United States Coast Guard of a ship taking on water in the Severn River on August 13, 2012.
“We had gotten in a fight the week prior,” said Kevin Baird, Strum-Smith’s ex-boyfriend.
A press release from the U.S Attorney’s Office Eastern District said “multiple rescue vehicles from the Abingdon Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad, Gloucester Fire Department, York County Fire Department, Mathews Fire Department and the United States Coast Guard” were dispatched to locate and aid the foundering vehicle.
After a two hour search costing over $82,000 it was determined that the call was a hoax.”
“Next thing you know we have planes flying over us, helicopters hovering over us,” said Baird. “Multiple police boats coming up to us getting all over our information, asking if we’re okay.”
Strum-Smith pleaded guilty to a criminal information filed in United States District Court on May 27, 2014.
Strum-Smith faces a maximum penalty of six years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and $82,764 in restitution when she is sentenced on October 20, 2014 in Norfolk.
Baird, who shares a son with Strum-Smith, said he does not want to see her go to prison.
“I want her and other people to learn from her mistake,” said Baird. “I don’t want to see her get in any real trouble for it.”
Strum-Smith refused to speak with NewsChannel 3 about the incident.