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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Alpha Ambulance, Inc. ) File No. EB-02-SJ-031
) NAL/Acct. No. 200232680007
San Juan, Puerto Rico ) FRN 0005-9491-93
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Adopted: May 12, 2003 Released: May 14, 2003
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Memorandum Opinion and Order (``Order''), we
deny a petition for reconsideration of a Forfeiture Order1
issued in this proceeding. The Forfeiture Order issued a
$10,000 forfeiture to Alpha Ambulance, Inc. (``Alpha'') for
operating radio transmission equipment without Commission
authorization in willful violation of Section 301 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, (``Act'')2 and Section
1.903(a) of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'').3
2. On April 23, 2002, the San Juan Office received, from
the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Medical Emergency Services, a
complaint of interference affecting the frequency pair
463.100/468.100 MHz. The Commission has assigned these
frequencies to the Public Safety Radio Pool and authorized
their use solely for communications between medical
facilities, vehicles and personnel involving treatment and
transport of patients in the rendition or delivery of medical
services.4 The complaint alleged that Alpha was causing
interference to ongoing emergency medical communications.
Commission records showed no license issued to Alpha for
operation on these frequencies.
3. On May 6, 2002, an agent from the San Juan Office used
direction finding techniques to locate radio transmissions on
the frequency 468.100 MHz. The agent determined that the
source of the transmissions on this frequency was a one-story
building located at 1720 Eduardo Conde Avenue. A sign
identified the building as the business offices of ``Alpha
Ambulance.'' Using direction finding techniques, the agent
also determined that Alpha's ambulances were transmitting on
the 463.100/468.100 MHz frequency pair.
4. On May 7, 2002, the agent went to the offices of Alpha
and interviewed Ms. Milagros Montero. Ms. Montero stated that
she and her daughter owned Alpha and admitted that Alpha
operated radio transmission equipment on the 463.100/468.100
MHz frequency pair. When the agent asked to see the FCC
license for the radio station, Ms. Montero provided a copy of
a license issued to First Aid Ambulance, Inc. (``First Aid'')
for the frequency pair 463.100/468.100 MHz, call sign KNIG648,
which had expired on April 8, 2001. Ms. Montero stated that
First Aid had been owned by her ex-husband, his mother and his
sister, that First Aid had dissolved about three years ago,
and that Alpha had operated the radio equipment since that
time. Ms. Montero was unable to produce any authorization for
Alpha to operate on the frequency pair 463.100/468.100 MHz.
5. On June 21, 2002, the San Juan Office issued an NAL to
Alpha for a $10,000 forfeiture for operating radio
transmitting equipment without Commission authorization in
willful violation of Section 301 of the Act and Section
1.903(a) of the Rules. In its July 16, 2002, response to the
NAL, Alpha did not deny the violation. However, Alpha
asserted that it cannot afford to pay the proposed $10,000
forfeiture and submitted tax returns for 1998, 1999 and 2000
and a balance sheet for 2001 in support of this assertion.
6. On December 23, 2002, the Enforcement Bureau released a
Forfeiture Order issuing a $10,000 forfeiture to Alpha. After
considering the financial information submitted by Alpha, we
concluded that its gross revenues are sufficient to enable it
to pay a $10,000 forfeiture.5 In its petition for
reconsideration of the Forfeiture Order filed on January 22,
2003, Alpha repeats its claim that payment of the forfeiture
would impose a financial hardship on it and requests that we
cancel or reduce the forfeiture or create a payment plan that
suits its needs.
7. Alpha has presented no new evidence or information that
would persuade us to reconsider our decision in the Forfeiture
Order to impose the $10,000 forfeiture. As we concluded in
the Forfeiture Order, the financial information submitted by
Alpha does not provide a basis for reduction or cancellation
of the forfeiture. The $10,000 forfeiture is a small
percentage of Alpha's gross revenues, which have increased in
each of the last three years.6 However, as explicitly stated
in the Forfeiture Order and set forth below, Alpha may submit
a request for full payment of the forfeiture under an
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
8. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section
405 of the Act, and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.106(j) of the
Rules,7 the petition for reconsideration filed on January 22,
2003 by Alpha Ambulance, Inc. IS DENIED.
9. Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner
provided for in Section 1.80 of the Rules within 30 days of
the release of this Order. If the forfeiture is not paid
within the period specified, the case may be referred to the
Department of Justice for collection pursuant to Section
504(a) of the Act.8 Payment may be made by mailing a check or
similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission, to the Federal Communications
Commission, P.O. Box 73482, Chicago, Illinois 60673-7482. The
payment should reference NAL/Acct. No. 200232680007 and FRN
0005-9491-93. Requests for full payment under an installment
plan should be sent to: Chief, Revenue and Receivables
Operations Group, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C.
10. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall
be sent by first class mail and certified mail return receipt
requested to Alpha Ambulance, Inc., P.O. Box 19313, Fernandez
Juncos Station, Santurce, Puerto Rico 00910.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David H. Solomon
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1 Alpha Ambulance, Inc., 17 FCC Rcd 26105 (Enf. Bur. 2002).
2 47 U.S.C. § 301.
3 47 C.F.R. § 1.903(a).
4 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.20(c)(3) and (d)(76).
5 The Commission has repeatedly held that a company's gross
revenues are the best indicator of its ability to pay a
forfeiture. See Long Distance Direct, Inc., 15 FCC Rcd 3297,
3305 (2000); PJB Communications of Virginia, Inc., 7 FCC Rcd
2088, 2089 (1991) (``PJB Communications'').
6 See PJB Communications, 7 FCC Rcd at 2089 (forfeiture not
deemed excessive where it represented approximately 2.02 percent
of the violator's gross revenues); Hoosier Broadcasting
Corporation, 15 FCC Rcd 8640, 8641 (Enf. Bur. 2002) (forfeiture
not deemed excessive where it represented approximately 7.6
percent of the violator's gross revenues); Afton Communications
Corp., 7 FCC Rcd 6741 (Com. Car. Bur. 1992) (forfeiture not
deemed excessive where it represented approximately 3.9 percent
of the violator's gross revenues).
7 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.106(j).
8 47 U.S.C. § 504(a).
9 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.