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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FCC Issues or Upholds Nearly $70,000 in Pirate Fines



The FCC is clearing its decks, so to speak, of pirate fines.

In two days, the commission has announced or upheld a total of $67,000 in fines to four people for operating unlicensed radio stations in separate cases, and it issued another $4,000 proposed fine to one ham operator for using an unauthorized frequency.

Two Boston-area cases progressed to the level of forfeiture orders because the FCC says neither Robert Brown nor Lloyd Morris responded to Notices of Apparent Liability for $15,000 each. The notices were issued to Brown and Morris in October of 2010. They have 30 days to pay or the FCC says it may turn the cases over to the Justice Department for collection.

The next two cases occur in Florida. The FCC decided Fritzner Lindor is apparently liable for a $15,000 fine after Tampa office agents traced an unauthorized signal operating on 94.7 MHz in Orange Park to his home. During an inspection in June of 2010, the commission says he admitted he bought a transmitter and operated the station without a license. Involved in broadcasting for 19 years, he knew his actions violated the Communications Act, according to the agency. He has 30 days to appeal or pay.

In the second Florida case, the commission issued a proposed fine to Judith V. Smith of $22,000 for operating an unlicensed radio transmitter on 95.9 MHz in Miami, and for refusing to allow FCC agents to inspect the station, located in her home. “Gospel Reggae FM” also has a website named “Gospel Reggae FM.com.” In June of 2010, agents traced an unauthorized signal to her home. They say she opened the door, identified herself and refused to let them in. She then closed the door and turned off the transmitter. She has 30 days to appeal.

Finally, another fine is in a ham radio case. The commission affirmed a proposed fine of $4,000 against Jose Torres for operating his amateur station on an unauthorized frequency, 26.71 MHz. Torres is the licensee of Amateur Extra Class station N3TX in Philadelphia. The agency says he’d been warned about not operating on that frequency and fined $4,000 in 2009. He asked that the fine be reduced or cancelled, telling agents he wasn’t home during the alleged unauthorized operations in 2008 and submitted cellphone records to support his claim; Torres also submitted three years of federal tax returns to bolster his argument of an inability to pay. The FCC didn’t buy his arguments; field agents say they heard his voice on the unauthorized transmissions and that the cellphone records don’t prove he wasn’t at home, only that he wasn’t using his landline at the time.

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554


)

)
In the Matter of
) File Number EB-08-PA-0180
Jose Torres
) NAL/Acct. No. 200932400002
Licensee of Station N3TX
) FRN 0001-83-1825
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
)

)


NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE

Released: January 6, 2009

By the District Director, Philadelphia Office, Northeast Region,
Enforcement Bureau:

I. INTRODUCTION

1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL"), we find
that Jose Torres ("Torres"), the licensee of Amateur Extra Class
Station N3TX in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, apparently willfully and
repeatedly operated his amateur station on an unauthorized frequency,
in violation of Section 1.903(a) of the Communications Act of 1934,
as amended ("Act"). We conclude, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"), that Torres is
apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of four thousand
dollars ($4,000). We also admonish Jose Torres for failing to transmit
his call sign, in violation of Section 97.119(a) of the Rules.

II. BACKGROUND

2. On December 11, 2007, in response to a complaint of interference to
over-the-air television reception, agents from the FCC's Philadelphia
Office drove to the complainant's residence and began monitoring the
frequencies in and around the Citizens Band (CB) from 26.965 MHz to
27.405 MHz. Between approximately 6:50 p.m. and 7:10 p.m. and between
approximately 8:40 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. that evening, the agents
observed transmissions on the frequency 26.71 MHz. The agents
contacted the complainant and confirmed that the harmful interference
to the television reception was occurring during the times when the
agents observed the transmissions on 26.71 MHz. The agents used
direction finding techniques and identified the source of the signal
on 26.71 MHz as Jose Torres's residence, which is located in close
proximity to the complainant's residence in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. The agents did not observe any station identification
announced during the radio transmissions on 26.71 MHz.

3. On December 11, 2007 at 9:10 pm, the agents inspected the radio
station located at Torres's residence. When the agents arrived, they
observed that Torres's radio transmitting equipment was turned off.
When Torres turned the radio transmitting equipment on, the agents
observed that it was tuned to the frequency 26.71 MHz. During the
inspection, Torres claimed that he was not transmitting on the
frequency 26.71 MHz but he was listening to the Spanish conversation
on 26.71 MHz. Torres also informed the agents that he holds an Amateur
Extra Class License under the call sign N3TX. The agents informed
Torres that the Amateur Extra Class License does not authorize him to
operate on 26.71 MHz and that he must cease all transmissions on 26.71
MHz immediately.

4. On January 7, 2008, the Philadelphia Office issued Jose Torres a
Notice of Violation for operating on an unauthorized frequency, in
violation of Section 1.903(a) of the Rules, and for failing to
transmit the call sign identification, in violation of Section
97.119(a) of the Rules. On February 6, 2008, and February 8, 2008, the
FCC Philadelphia Office received two separate letters of similar
content from Jose Torres, in response to the Notice of Violation. In
his responses, Torres stated "[w]ith this writing respond I agree to
the Notice listed above. I fully understand the violation. According
to my license N3TX I will transmit where I'm authorized, at the Extra
Class portion only."

5. On February 15, 2008, the FCC Philadelphia Office received an e-mail
from the complainant alleging that the harmful interference to the
television has reappeared and is affecting the reception of
over-the-air television programming.

6. In response to a complaint that the interference had returned, agents
initiated another investigation. On April 17, 2008, between 8:00 pm
and 9:30 pm and on June 2, 2008 between 3:00 pm and 3:40 pm, agents
from the FCC's Philadelphia Office monitored and recorded radio
transmissions on the frequency 26.71 MHz. The agents used direction
finding techniques to locate the source of the transmission on 26.71
MHz to Torres's residence. At no time did Torres identify his
communications by transmitting his Amateur station call sign N3TX.

III. DISCUSSION

7. Section 503(b) of the Act provides that any person who willfully or
repeatedly fails to comply substantially with the terms and conditions
of any license, or willfully or repeatedly fails to comply with any of
the provisions of the Act or of any rule, regulation or order issued
by the Commission thereunder, shall be liable for a forfeiture
penalty. The term "willful" as used in Section 503(b) of the Act has
been interpreted to mean simply that the acts or omissions are
committed knowingly. The term "repeated" means the commission or
omission of such act more than once or for more than one day.

8. Section 1.903(a) of the Act states that stations in the Wireless Radio
Services must be used and operated only in accordance with the rules
applicable to their particular service as set forth in this title and
with a valid authorization granted by the Commission. On December 11,
2007, Torres operated radio transmitting equipment from his residence
on 26.71 MHz. The license for station N3TX authorizes Jose Torres to
operate on specific frequencies in the Amateur Radio Service Band, but
does not authorize Jose Torres to operate 26.71 MHz. During a December
11, 2007, inspection the agents warned Torres that he must immediately
cease operating on the frequency 26.71 MHz. Furthermore, in the
January 7, 2008, Notice of Violation, the Philadelphia Office notified
Torres that he was in violation of Section 1.903(a) of the Rules for
operating on the unauthorized frequency. Notwithstanding these
warnings, on April 17, 2008, and June 2, 2008, Commission agents
determined that Torres operated radio transmitting equipment from his
residence on the frequency 26.71 MHz. Because Torres operated his
Amateur Radio station on an unauthorized frequency after being warned
that he did not have authority to do so and because he admitted to
such unauthorized operation, we find that the violation was willful.
Because the violation occurred on more than one day, it was repeated.

9. Pursuant to The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment
of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines,
("Forfeiture Policy Statement"), and Section 1.80 of the Rules, the
base forfeiture amount for operating radio transmitting equipment on
an unauthorized frequency is $4,000. In assessing the monetary
forfeiture amount, we must also take into account the statutory
factors set forth in Section 503(b)(2)(E) of the Act, which include
the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violations, and
with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, and history
of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other such matters as justice
may require. Applying the Forfeiture Policy Statement, Section 1.80 of
the Rules, and the statutory factors to the instant case, we conclude
that Jose Torres is apparently liable for a ($4,000) forfeiture.

10. Section 97.119(a) of the Commission's Rules states that each amateur
station, except a space station or telecommand station, must transmit
its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end of each
communication, and at least every 10 minutes during a communication,
for the purpose of clearly making the source of the transmissions from
the station known to those receiving the transmissions. On December
11, 2007, April 17, 2008, and June 2, 2008, agents from the
Philadelphia Office observed that Torres did not transmit his call
sign N3TX while operating his Amateur Radio station on the frequency
26.71 MHz. Based on the evidence before us, we admonish Jose Torres
for willfully and repeatedly violating Section 97.119(a) of the Rules
for failing to transmit a call sign.

IV. ORDERING CLAUSES

11. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.311,
0.314 and 1.80 of the Commission's Rules, Jose Torres is hereby
NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of
four thousand dollars ($4,000) for violation of Section 1.903(a) of
the Act.

12. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Jose Torres IS ADMONISHED for willfully and
repeatedly violating Section 97.119(a) of the Commission's Rules.

13. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 1.80 of the
Commission's Rules within thirty days of the release date of this
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, Jose Torres SHALL PAY the
full amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written
statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed
forfeiture.

14. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by credit card through the
Commission's Revenue and Receivables Operations Group at (202)
418-1995, or by check or similar instrument, payable to the order of
the Federal Communications Commission. The payment must include the
Account Number and FRN Number referenced above. Payment by check or
money order may be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O.
Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000. Payment by overnight mail may be
sent to U.S. Bank - Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005
Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101. Payment[s] by wire transfer may
be made to ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank Federal Reserve Bank
of New York, and account number 27000001. Requests for full payment
under an installment plan should be sent to: Chief Financial Officer
-- Financial Operations, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 1-A625,
Washington, D.C. 20554.8 If you have questions, please contact the
Financial Operations Group Help Desk at 1-877-480-3201 or Email:
ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov. Jose Torres shall also send electronic
notification on the date said payment is made to NER-Response@fcc.gov.

15. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal Communications
Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Northeast Region, Philadelphia Office,
One Oxford Valley Building, Suite 404, 2300 East Lincoln Highway,
Langhorne, Pennsylvania 19047 and must include the NAL/Acct. No.
referenced in the caption. An electronic copy shall be sent to
NER-Response@fcc.gov.

16. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture in
response to a claim of inability to pay unless the petitioner submits:
(1) federal tax returns for the most recent three-year period; (2)
financial statements prepared according to generally accepted
accounting practices ("GAAP"); or (3) some other reliable and
objective documentation that accurately reflects the petitioner's
current financial status. Any claim of inability to pay must
specifically identify the basis for the claim by reference to the
financial documentation submitted.

17. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture shall be sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt
Requested, and regular mail, to Jose Torres at his address of
record.

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

Gene Stanbro

District Director

Philadelphia Office

Northeast Region

Enforcement Bureau

47 U.S.C. S: 1.903(a).

47 U.S.C. S: 503(b).

47 U.S.C. S: 97.119(a).
http://www.radioworld.com/article/fcc-issues-or-upholds-nearly-70000-in-pirate-fines/23519

p/s: do we have this situation here in Malaysia ?


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