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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of File Number: EB-07-TP-183
John Doe NAL/Acct. No: 200832700016
Largo, FL FRN: 0017350919
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Adopted: September 11, 2008 Released: September 15, 2008
By the Associate Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Memorandum Opinion and Order ("Order"), we grant the petition
for reconsideration filed by John Doe of the Forfeiture Order issued
June 30, 2008. The Forfeiture Order imposed a monetary forfeiture in
the amount of $18,000 for Mr. Doe's willful and repeated violation of
Sections 301 and 325 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended
("Act"). The noted violations involve Mr. Doe's operation of radio
transmission equipment without a license in Largo, Florida, on the
International Distress, Safety and Calling Channel and transmission of
false signals of distress. Based on the evidence before us, we cancel
the forfeiture and admonish Mr. Doe for his willful and repeated
violation of Sections 301 and 325 of the Act.
2. On August 23 and 24, 2007, the Commission's Tampa Office of the
Enforcement Bureau ("Tampa Office") received complaints from the
United States Coast Guard ("USCG") St. Petersburg Sector regarding
interference and false distress/mayday calls they had been receiving
on channels 16 (156.800 MHz) since August 13, 2007. The USCG stated
they had dispatched ships and aircraft to search for the caller in
response to several of these false distress calls. On at least one of
these calls, the USCG stated the caller identified his location as an
area in close proximity to where he was eventually apprehended.
3. On August 24, 2007, the USCG contacted an agent from the Tampa Office,
who was en route to locate the source of the false distress calls, and
stated they had used direction finding techniques to determine that
the false distress calls were emanating from a location in or near a
mobile home community in Largo, Florida. The USCG also stated that the
Largo Police Department had just apprehended and was taking into
custody a student, who lived in this mobile home community and who had
several radios, including a marine radio, in his bedroom rigged to a
12 volt marine battery and whip antenna.
4. On August 24, 2007, Mr. Doe confessed to an officer with the Largo
Police Department that he stole a marine radio from a boat and used it
to make five false distress/mayday calls to the USCG from his bedroom.
The Largo Police Department arrested Mr. Doe on this date on charges
unrelated to the false distress calls and confiscated one marine
radio, two CB radios, and a marine battery from Mr. Doe's bedroom and
a whip antenna from outside his bedroom window. According to
Commission records, Mr. Doe does not hold a license to operate a
marine radio on land. On August 30, 2007, agents from the Tampa Office
confirmed that the marine radio confiscated from Mr. Doe's bedroom
could in fact operate on channel 16 (156.800 MHz).
5. On April 30, 2008, the Tampa Office issued a Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture to Mr. Doe in the amount of eighteen thousand
dollars ($18,000), for the apparent willful and repeated violation of
Sections 301 and 325 of the Act. Mr. Doe did not submit a response to
the NAL, and on June 30, 2008, the Enforcement Bureau ("Bureau")
released the Forfeiture Order. Mr. Doe, however, did submit a petition
for reconsideration of the Forfeiture Order, requesting reduction or
cancellation of the forfeiture.
6. The forfeiture amount in this case was assessed in accordance with
Section 503(b) of the Act, Section 1.80 of the Rules, and The
Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80
of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines. In examining
Mr. Doe's petition, Section 503(b) of the Act requires that the
Commission take into account 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 any
other such matters as justice may require.
7. Mr. Doe expresses sincere remorse for his actions and requests
reduction or cancellation of the forfeiture, because it would pose a
financial hardship. Mr. Doe, a sixteen-year-old, states he has never
had a job and has no sources of income. He has also been in the
custody of the state in a juvenile detention facility since February
2008. After examining the financial documentation submitted by Mr.
Doe, we conclude that cancellation of the forfeiture is warranted,
based solely on his lack of income and the fact that he is currently
in the custody of the state of Florida. However, because of the
seriousness of the violation, we admonish Mr. Doe for his willful and
repeated violation of Sections 301 and 325 of the Act.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
8. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 405 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 1.106 of the
Commission's Rules, John Doe's petition for reconsideration of the
June 30, 2008 Forfeiture Order IS hereby GRANTED and the Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Forfeiture Order issued to John
Doe ARE HEREBY CANCELED.
9. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, John Doe IS ADMONISHED for his violation
of Sections 301 and 325 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.
10. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Order shall be sent by regular mail
and by certified mail, return receipt requested, to John Doe at his
address of record.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
George R. Dillon
Associate Chief, Enforcement Bureau
Name redacted due to age of individual.
John Doe, Forfeiture Order, DA 08-1505 (Enf. Bur. South Central Region
June 30, 2008) ("Forfeiture Order").
47 U.S.C. S:S: 301, 325.
The frequency 156.800 MHz, channel 16, is the international distress,
safety and calling channel. See 47 C.F.R. S: 80.369(e)(3).
The USCG also mentioned that they had received interference on channels 21
The USCG maintains an aural watch on channel 16 to, among other things,
respond to distress calls.
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No. 200832700016
(Enf. Bur., Tampa Office, April 30, 2008) ("NAL").
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b).
47 C.F.R. S: 1.80.
12 FCC Rcd. 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd. 303 (1999).
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(2)(D).
47 U.S.C. S: 405.
47 C.F.R. S: 1.106.
Federal Communications Commission DA 08-2085
Federal Communications Commission DA 08-2085