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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of ) File Number EB-04-TP-560
Jeremy R. Riels ) NAL/Acct. No.200532700008
Cross City, Florida )
) FRN 0013442918
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: May 9, 2005
By the District Director, Tampa Office, South Central
Region, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture (``NAL''), we find Jeremy R. Riels, apparently
liable for a forfeiture in the amount of ten thousand
dollars ($10,000) for willful violation of Section 301 of
the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (``Act'').1
Specifically, we find Mr. Riels apparently liable for
operating a transmitter on 156.875 MHz (VHF marine channel
77) without a license.
2. In response to a complaint filed by the United
States Coast Guard (``USCG''), the Tampa Office of the
Enforcement Bureau (``Tampa Office'') initiated an
investigation into the unauthorized use of marine VHF
frequencies in and around the USCG receive site in Dixie
County, Florida. On December 8, 2004, agents from the Tampa
Office monitored a signal on 156.875 MHz (VHF marine channel
77) and heard a conversation between hunters about the
location of their hunting dogs in the forest. The agents
used radio direction finding techniques to determine that
the source of the signal on 156.875 MHz was coming from a
1997 brown Silverado Chevrolet pickup truck in Dixie County,
Florida. The agents observed a radio transmitter installed
in the vehicle. Mr. Riels, the driver and only occupant of
the vehicle, was questioned and admitted to operation of the
radio transceiver installed in his vehicle. He stated that
he used this radio, as opposed to a CB radio, which could be
used legally, because the CB band had too much interference.
A search of Commission records provided no authorization for
Mr. Riels to operate on this frequency.
3. 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) has
been interpreted to mean simply that the acts or omissions
are committed knowingly.2
4. Section 301 of the Act states that no person shall
use or operate any apparatus for the transmission of energy
or communications or signals by radio within the United
States except under and in accordance with the Act and with
a license issued by the Commission.3 The frequency 156.875
MHz has been assigned to VHF Marine Channel 77 for maritime
services.4 Section 80.373(f) of the Rules specifies that
VHF Marine Channel 77 may only be used for ship to ship
communications.5 Section 80.13 of the Rules states that
stations in the maritime service must be licensed either
individually or by fleet.6 Ship stations may also be
licensed by rule under certain circumstances without an
individual license.7 However, ship stations are defined as
those radio stations located on vessels not permanently
moored.8 On December 8, 2004, agents from the Tampa Office
determined that Mr. Riels operated a radio transmitter on a
VHF marine channel from a land-based vehicle. Mr. Riels
admitted to operating the radio transmitter. The
Commission's records showed that Mr. Riels did not have a
license to operate this station and does not qualify to be
licensed by rule.
5. Based on the evidence before us, we find that, on
December 8, 2004, Mr. Riels willfully violated Section 301
of the Act by operating an unlicensed radio transmitter on
6. Pursuant to Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Commission's
Rules (``Rules''),9 the base forfeiture amount for operation
without an instrument of authorization is $10,000. In
assessing the monetary forfeiture amount, we must also take
into account the statutory factors set forth in Section
503(b)(2)(D) of the Act, which include the nature,
circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation, and
with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any
history of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other such
matters as justice may require.10 Considering the entire
record and applying the factors listed above, this case
warrants a $10,000 forfeiture.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
7. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to
Section 503(b) of the Act,11 and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and
1.80 of the Rules,12 Jeremy R. Riels is hereby NOTIFIED of
this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of
ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for willful violation of
Section 301 of the Act by operating an unlicensed
transmitter on 156.875 MHz.
8. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section
1.80 of the Rules, within thirty days of the release date of
this NAL, Jeremy R. Riels SHALL PAY the full amount of the
proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement
seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed
9. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by check or
similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission. The payment must include the
NAL/Acct. No. and FRN No. referenced above. Payment
by check or money order may be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, P.O. Box 358340, Pittsburgh, PA
15251-8340. Payment by overnight mail may be sent to Mellon
Bank /LB 358340, 500 Ross Street, Room 1540670, Pittsburgh,
PA 15251. Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA
Number 043000261, receiving bank Mellon Bank, and account
number 911-6106. Requests for payment of the full amount of
this NAL under an installment plan should be sent to: Chief,
Revenue and Receivable Operations Group, 445 12th Street,
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.13
10. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, South Central
Region, Tampa Office, Suite 1215, 2204 N. Lois Avenue,
Tampa, Florida 33607, within thirty days of the release date
of this NAL and MUST INCLUDE THE NAL/Acct. No. referenced
11. 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
12. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this NAL
shall be sent by regular mail and Certified Mail Return
Receipt Requested to Jeremy R. Riels at his address of
Ralph M. Barlow
South Central Region
147 U.S.C. § 301
2Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1), which
applies to violations for which forfeitures are assessed
under Section 503(b) of the Act, provides that "[t]he term
'willful', when used with reference to the commission or
omission of any act, means the conscious and deliberate
commission or omission of such act, irrespective of any
intent to violate any provision of this Act or any rule or
regulation of the Commission authorized by this Act...."
See Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd 4387
347 U.S.C. § 301.
4See 47 C.F.R. § 80.373(f).
647 C.F.R. § 80.13.
747 C.F.R. § 80.13(c).
8See 47 C.F.R. §§ 80.5, 80.13.
947 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(4).
1047 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
1147 U.S.C. § 503(b).
1247 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80.
13See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.