$2,800,000 fine for bogus “amateur radio” transmitters for drones

June 5, 2018, the FCC announced a $2.8 million fine against Hobby King for repeatedly selling mis-identified un-certified transmitters.  The transmitters, mostly, were advertised for sending live video from unmanned aircraft back to the ground for viewing by the U.A.S. operator.

Hobby King misled website visitors into believing that these transmitters were compliant with FCC regulations for use by licensed Amateur Radio Operators.  The transmitters did not even operate on frequencies which are available to licensed operators!

The FCC had looked into the matter and corresponded with Hobby King in the past.  F.C.C. informed Hobby King that these devices were not compliant Read More

FCC confiscates equipment from N.Y. pirate broadcaster

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2018
Taking action against a pirate radio operator, Federal Communications Commission agents, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Marshals Service, seized radio transmission equipment from an unauthorized radio station on April 10, which was operating illegally in Manhattan.  The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has been leading an effort to crack down on this illegal activity, resulting in unlawful broadcasts going off the air, seizure of equipment, fines against pirates, proposed fines against pirates and property owners actively aiding pirate radio operations, and numerous other enforcement actions.

“Pirate radio stations are illegal, as they operate without an FCC license, and cause real harm. 
These stations can cause interference to legitimate, licensed broadcasters and can prevent those broadcasters from delivering critical public-safety information to listeners,” said Rosemary Harold, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.  “We are pursuing multiple legal routes to stop pirate broadcasters and this seizure action in Manhattan is one of them. We thank our partners in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Marshals Service, and we’re particularly thankful for the great work of FCC field agents in combatting this problem.” 

“Rumba FM,” which broadcast on 95.3 FM from a high-rise apartment building in Manhattan, was operating without an FCC license, as required by law. The FCC issued multiple warnings to the illegal operators but the radio station continued to broadcast. Pursuant to a federal court order, authorities seized equipment operated by the illegal radio station at that station’s antenna location on St. Nicholas Avenue in Manhattan.

 

The Communications Act of 1934 prohibits the operation of radio broadcasting equipment above certain low-intensity thresholds without a license issued by the FCC. The Act authorizes the seizure and forfeiture of any electronic or radio frequency equipment used to broadcast without an FCC license. The number of available radio frequencies is limited, and unlicensed broadcasting can interfere with the broadcasting of legitimate licensed radio stations, potentially causing chaos in the radio spectrum.

 

In an action to seize a pirate radio station’s equipment, the FCC performs the initial investigation. Once the FCC has built a case against the station, the matter is referred to the relevant U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is then responsible for filing the case and obtaining a warrant to seize the illegal radio equipment from the court. The U.S. Marshals Service is responsible for executing the warrant and seizing the pirate radio station equipment, with FCC personnel provide technical assistance during the seizure.

Largest FCC Fine Ever ! For spoofing robocalls

96,000,000 Robocalls !

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2018—
The Federal Communications Commission today fined Adrian Abramovich $120 million for malicious spoofing that was part of his massive robocalling operation aimed at selling timeshares and other travel packages.  The caller ID spoofing operation made almost 100 million spoofed robocalls over three months. The Truth in Caller ID Act prohibits callers from deliberately falsifying caller ID information with the intent to harm or defraud consumers or unlawfully obtain something of value.
The FCC proposed this fine in the summer of 2017.  In response to the proposed fine, Mr. Abramovich claimed that he had no intent to cause harm, and that the proposed forfeiture amount was unconstitutional.  The Commission determined that the evidence did not support these claims and is imposing a fine in the amount originally proposed, the largest forfeiture ever imposed by the agency.

Mr. Abramovich, of Miami, Florida, or companies he controlled, spoofed 96 million robocalls in order to trick unsuspecting consumers into answering and listening to his advertising messages.  To increase the likelihood that consumers would answer his calls,  Mr. Abramovich’s operation made calls that appeared to be local—a practice known as “neighbor spoofing.”  The messages indicated that the calls came from well-known travel or hospitality companies such as Marriott, Expedia, Hilton, and TripAdvisor, and prompted consumers to “Press 1” to hear about “exclusive” vacation deals.  Those who did were transferred to foreign call centers where live operators attempted to sell vacation packages—often involving timeshares—at destinations unrelated to the named travel or hospitality companies.

The Federal Communications Commission received numerous consumer complaints about these calls. In addition, the Commission heard from companies such as TripAdvisor, which received complaints from consumers who believed the robocalls had come from the company.   Medical paging provider Spōk also complained after its network was disrupted by these calls, thus interfering with hospital and physician communications. Both companies actively helped the investigation.
Official F.C.C. statements and more are at this link.

$15,000 fine for FM pirate in Van Nuys, California

NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE

Adopted: November 20, 2017 Released: November 21, 2017 By the Regional Director, Region Three, Enforcement Bureau:

I. INTRODUCTION.  We propose a penalty of $15,000 against Mr. Juan Carlos Uribe for operating an unlicensed radio station on 101.5 MHz in Van Nuys, California.  Mr. Uribe was warned by the Commission that the operation of an unlicensed station was illegal and that continued operation could result in further enforcement action.  Nonetheless, Mr. Uribe apparently disregarded the warning and continued to broadcast on an unauthorized station. 

Accordingly, the Commission now finds him apparently liable for violation of Section 301 of the Commissions Act, and proposes a penalty of $15,000.  As the Commission has stated many times before, enforcement action in this area is critical because unlicensed radio stations undermine the Commission’s efforts to manage radio spectrum and can cause interference to licensed communications, including authorized broadcasts and public safety transmissions.  Moreover, unlicensed radio stations do not broadcast Emergency Alert Service (EAS) messages, and thus create a public safety hazard for their listeners. Read More

$15,000 fine for Guntersville, Alabama FM Pirate

I. INTRODUCTION
1. FCC impose a penalty of $15,000 on Michael Dudley for operating an unlicensed radio station on 103.9 MHz in Guntersville, Alabama in violation of Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act).  Mr. Dudley does not deny that he operated an illegal station, but argues that the station did not interfere with any other stations, that no one was harmed by the station’s operation, and that he does not have the resources to pay the forfeiture. After reviewing Mr. Dudley’s response to the NAL, we find no reason to cancel, withdraw, or reduce the proposed penalty, and assess the $15,000 forfeiture the Bureau previously proposed. Read More

Pirate broadcasters nailed in October 2017

Summary of pirate broadcasters nailed in October

(nouo = notice of unlicensed operation)
10-31-2017 NOUO Rocheney Charles & Judith Oreste, Lake Worth, Florida

10-31-2017 NOUO Eglon Garvey, Lake Worth, Florida
10-20-2017 NOUO Cesar Gerlens, Everett, Massachusetts
10-16-2017 NOUO San Luis Valley Regional Airport, Alamosa, Colorado
10-13-2017 NOUO Dwayne M. Banks, Marilyn F. Banks, Waco, Texas
10-12-2017 NOUO New Fellowship Baptist Church, Dorchester, Massachusetts
10-12-2017 NOUO Elizabeth Plaisime, Delray Beach, Florida
10-12-2017 NOUO Elizabeth Plaisime, Delray Beach, Florida
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FCC fines Securs $1.7 million for submitting misleading information

FCC FINES SECURUS $1.7M, RESOLVING INVESTIGATION OVER
SUBMITTING MISLEADING INFORMATION TO AGENCY
Commission Completes Investigation, Approves Sale of Securus to Platinum Equity

WASHINGTON, October 30, 2017— The Federal Communications Commission today announced it has reached a $1.7 million consent decree with Securus Technologies resolving an investigation into whether Securus provided inaccurate and misleading information to the FCC regarding the company’s transfer of control to Platinum Equity, LLC.
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