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                           Before the
                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


                              ORDER

   Adopted:  February 3, 2004           Released:  February 5, 
2004

By the Commission:

                    I.   INTRODUCTION


     1.   By this Order, we deny the application for review filed 
on June  13, 2003  and supplemented  on June  16, 2003  by  Alpha 
Ambulance, Inc. (``Alpha'') of  the Memorandum Opinion and  Order 
(``MO&O''),1 issued by the Enforcement Bureau (``Bureau'') on May 
14, 2003.   In that  MO&O,  the Bureau  denied the  petition  for 
reconsideration of the Forfeiture  Order,2  which assessed a  ten 
thousand dollar ($10,000) forfeiture against Alpha for  operating 
radio transmission equipment without Commission authorization  in 
willful violation of  Section 301  of the  Communications Act  of 
1934, as  amended (the  ``Act''),3 and  Section 1.903(a)  of  the 
Commission's Rules (the ``Rules'').4

                    II.  BACKGROUND

     2.   In May of 2002, the Commission's San Juan, Puerto  Rico 
Office  (``San  Juan  Office''),  responded  to  an  interference 
complaint from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Medical  Emergency 
Services  (the   ``Commonwealth'').   Using   direction   finding 
techniques,  the  San  Juan  Office  determined  that  Alpha  was 
transmitting  on  the  Commonwealth's  assigned  frequencies  and 
interfering   with   the    Commonwealth's   emergency    medical 
communications.  After interviewing  Alpha's principals, the  San 
Juan  Office  issued  Alpha   a  Notice  of  Apparent   Liability 
(``NAL''), finding  that Alpha  had operated  radio  transmitting 
equipment  without  Commission  authorization  for  approximately 
three years and proposing a forfeiture in the amount of $10,000.  

     3.   In its response, Alpha did not dispute the findings  of 
the NAL. However, Alpha claimed an inability to pay, and sought a 
substantial reduction  in,  the proposed  forfeiture  amount.  In 
support, Alpha submitted its 1999, 2000 and 2001 tax returns.  In 
the petition for reconsideration of  the Forfeiture Order and  in 
the instant application for review of the MO&O, Alpha  reiterated 
its claim and supplemented its tax returns with a letter from its 
accountant.5   Finally,  Alpha  described  itself  as  a  ``small 
ambulance company with 13  employees and six ambulances,''6  that 
experienced financial  decline,7  and  that  ``lacked  intent  to 
operate without a license.''8  

                    III.      DISCUSSION

     4.   In The  Commission's  Forfeiture Policy  Statement  and 
Amendment of  Section  1.80  of  the  Rules  to  Incorporate  the 
Forfeiture Guidelines,  the  Commission  adopted  guidelines  for 
assessing base forfeiture amounts for  violations of the Act  and 
the Commission's rules, and  ``retain[ed] the discretion to  take 
action  in  specific  cases  as  warranted.''9   The   forfeiture 
guidelines establish a $10,000  base forfeiture for operation  of 
unauthorized transmissions.10  In  assessing the forfeiture,  the 
Commission may adjust the base forfeiture by taking into account, 
inter alia, a violator's ability to pay and other such matters as 
justice may require.11   It is in this context, that we  consider 
Alpha's application for review.  

     5.   In   analyzing   economic-hardship   claims,   as   the 
Forfeiture Order explains,12  the Commission  generally looks  to 
companies'  gross   revenues   as  reasonable   and   appropriate 
yardsticks  to   determine   their  ability   to   pay   assessed 
forfeitures.13  Indeed, the Commission stated that if  companies' 
gross revenues are sufficiently large,  the fact that net  losses 
are reported, alone,  does not necessarily  signify inability  to 
pay.14   

     6.   In  the   instant   case,   we   have   carefully   and 
independently reviewed Alpha's submissions. We find that  Alpha's 
tax returns for 1999, 2000  and 2001 reflect steadily  increasing 
and  sufficiently  large  gross  revenues,  and  that  its  gross 
revenues  effectively  negate   the  financial  hardship   claim.  
Specifically,  we  find  that  the  $10,000  forfeiture  is   not 
excessive under Commission precedent.15     We further find  that 
Alpha has  not  substantiated its  claim16  that payment  of  the 
$10,000  forfeiture   could   adversely  affect   its   continued 
``excellent and well need[ed] . .  . service to the public''  and 
its employees' ``well be[ing].''17  We thus are not persuaded  by 
Alpha's financial hardship  claim, and we  agree with the  Bureau 
that  there  is  no  basis  to  reduce  the  assessed  forfeiture 
amount.18   

     7.   We also do  not find that  Alpha's professed ``lack  of 
intent'' excuses, lessens, or  mitigates its violation.   Section 
503(b)(1)(B)  provides  that  any   person  who  ``willfully   or 
repeatedly'' fails to comply with any provision of the Act or any 
rule, regulation or order issued by the Commission under the  Act 
``shall  be  liable  to  the  United  States  for  a   forfeiture 
penalty.''19  In  this  context,  ``willful''  simply  means  the 
conscious and  deliberate  commission  or  omission  of  an  act, 
irrespective of  any intent  to violate  statutory or  regulatory 
requirements.20   In  the instant  case,  it is  undisputed  that 
Alpha  consciously   and   deliberately   operated   transmission 
equipment  without  Commission  authorization  for  a  three-year 
period, and that  its operations ultimately  interfered with  the 
Commonwealth's   authorized   and    vital   emergency    medical 
communications.  By so acting,  Alpha willfully violated  Section 
301  of  the  Act  and  Section  1.903(a)  of  the   Commission's 
implementing rules.  We thus find no basis to reduce the assessed 
forfeiture amount.  

                    IV.  ORDERING CLAUSES


     8.   Accordingly, IT IS  ORDERED that,  pursuant to  Section 
5(c)(4) of the  Act21 and  Section 1.115(g) of  the Rules,22  the 
Application for  Review filed  by Alpha  Ambulance, Inc.  of  the 
Enforcement Bureau's May  14, 2003 Memorandum  Opinion and  Order 
for NAL No. 200232680007 IS hereby 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.23  
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  Group,  445  12th  Street,  S.W.,  Washington,  D.C. 
20554.24   





     10.  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that  a copy of this Order  shall 
be  sent  by  First  Class  and  Certified  Mail  Return  Receipt 
Requested to Lewis H. Goldman, Esq., counsel for Alpha Ambulance, 
Inc., at 45 Dudley Court, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.  

                         FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION



                              Marlene H. Dortch
                              Secretary



                              


_________________________

1 Alpha  Ambulance,  Inc.,  18  FCC Rcd  9689  (Enf.  Bur.  2003) 
(``MO&O'').
2 Alpha  Ambulance,  Inc., 17  FCC  Rcd 26105  (Enf.  Bur.  2002) 
(``Forfeiture Order'').
3 47 U.S.C.  301.
4 47 C.F.R.  1.903(a).
5 See Letter from CPA, CFE, MBA Ramon Quinones Rodriguez to David 
Solomon,  Chief,  Enforcement   Bureau,  Federal   Communications 
Commission (January 22,  2003) (``Rodriguez  Letter''); see  also 
note 17 and accompanying text, infra.  
6 Application for Review at 1.
7 Id. at 2.
8 Id. at 3.
9 12 FCC  Rcd 17087, 17093   8,  recon. denied, 15  FCC Rcd  303 
(1999) (``Forfeiture Policy Statement'').
10 Id. at 17113.
11 See 47 U.S.C.  503(b)(2)(D); 47 C.F.R.  1.80(b)(4).
12 17 FCC Rcd at 26107,  9.
13 See  PJB Communications  of Virginia,  Inc., 7  FCC Rcd  2088, 
2089,  8 (1992);  see also Forfeiture  Policy Statement, 12  FCC 
Rcd at 17106-07,  43.  
14 See, e.g., Local Long Distance, Inc., 15 FCC Rcd 24385 (2000), 
recon. denied, 16 FCC Rcd  10023, 10025,  6 (2001);  Independent 
Communications, Inc., 14 FCC Rcd  9605 (1999), recon. denied,  15 
FCC Rcd 16060, 16060,  2 (2000); Hoosier Broadcasting Corp.  14 
FCC Rcd 3356 (CIB 1999), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 8640, 8641,   
7 (Enf. Bur. 2000).
15 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); Local Long Distance, Inc.,  16 
FCC Rcd  at  10025  (forfeiture not  deemed  excessive  where  it 
represented approximately  7.9 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).  In  this case,  the forfeiture  represents a  smaller 
percentage than those  issued in the  Local Long Distance,  Inc., 
and Hoosier  Broadcasting  Corp.,  cases, and  only  a  nominally 
higher percentage  compared  to  the  forfeiture  issued  in  PJB 
Communications of Virginia, Inc. 
16 See, e.g., PJB Communications of Virginia, Inc., 7 FCC Rcd  at 
2089,  8.
17 Rodriguez Letter at 1.
18 As set forth in the Forfeiture Order and the MO&O and note  24 
and accompanying  text, infra,  Alpha  may request  full  payment 
under an installment plan.
19 47 C.F.R.  503(b)(1)(B).
20  See  47  U.S.C.    312(f);  see  also  Southern   California 
Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC  Rcd 4387, 4387-88,   5 (1991);  Hoosier 
Broadcasting Corp. 15 FCC Rcd at 8641,  6. 
21   47 U.S.C.  155(c)(4).
22  47 C.F.R.  1.115(g).  
23 47 U.S.C.  504(a).
24 See 47 C.F.R.  1.1914.