West Boca Man Faked Disappearance at Sea to Avoid Legal Woes: Authorities

Richard Ohrn faces a felony charge of communicating false distress to the U.S. Coast Guard.

A West Boca man who authorities say faked his own disappearance at sea to escape legal troubles, prompting a pointless rescue mission that cost the U.S. Coast Guard nearly $400,000, is facing federal charges.

Multiple news outlets, including the Sun Sentinel, report that 45-year-old Richard Ohrn faces a felony charge of communicating false distress to the U.S. Coast Guard following a grand jury indictment on Thursday.

A Palm Beach County sheriff's report says that Ohrn set a blood-stained boat adrift in the Atlantic Ocean on March 31, 2015. The report says he then used an inflatable boat to travel back ashore and flee to Georgia, where he holed up in a rental home in the southern town of Albany before returning to West Boca.

The massive effort to locate Ohrn included 20 search missions in the Atlantic Ocean over four days. 

The pointless mission cost the U.S. Coast Guard precisely $396,805, according to NBC News.

Ohrn reportedly orchestrated the fake disappearance to try and skip out on legal issues related to accusations that he stole $15,250 from two elderly clients while working as a financial adviser with Chase Bank, among other allegations.

Regulatory records show that Ohrn was "terminated" by Wells Fargo Advisors LLC in August 2012 over allegations that he gave inconsistent explanations regarding a cashier's check.

At some point, Ohrn secured a position with Chase Bank, but by December 2014 he was accused of several irregularities, according to records on file with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA.

FINRA records show that in June 2015, Ohrn agreed to a settlement barring him from association with any regulated brokerage, NBC News reports.

Palm Beach County sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera says Ohrn remained jailed Monday night. It's unclear if he has an attorney.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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