Gloucester woman pleads guilty to false distress call

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A 29-year-old Gloucester woman admitted to making a false distress call in federal court Monday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Ashley Strum-Smith of Gloucester called in a false report Aug. 13, 2012 about a ship taking on water in the Severn River. Crews from the Abington Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad, Gloucester Fire Department, York County Fire Department, Mathews Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to the scene.

The search took two hours and cost more than $82,000 and was determined to be a hoax. Strum-Smith admitted to the false report.

Strum-Smith faces a fine of $250,000, $82,764 in restitution and a maximum penalty of six years in prison. She will be sentenced in October.

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