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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, DC 20554
In the Matter of Technical Communication Network, LLC Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture ) ) ) ) ) File No.: EB-TCD-12-00000627 NAL/Acct. No.:
201332170009 FRN: 0018042812
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE AND ORDER
Adopted: February 7, 2013 Released: February 7, 2013
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order (NAL),
we find that Technical Communication Network, LLC (TCN)^ apparently
violated an Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) order to produce certain
information and documents in response to a Bureau Letter of Inquiry
(LOI) relating to an investigation into possible violations of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Communications Act or Act).^
Based on our review of the facts and circumstances before us, we find
that TCN is apparently liable for a forfeiture of $25,000.
Furthermore, we direct TCN to submit, not later than ten (10) calendar
days from the release of this NAL, full and complete responses to the
2. The Bureau initiated an investigation of TCN to determine whether it
had violated the Communications Act in connection with the marketing
of its prepaid calling cards. As part of the investigation, on
February 8, 2012, the Bureau sent TCN the LOI, which ordered TCN to
provide certain information and documents.^ The Bureau directed TCN to
respond within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the LOI.
After the Bureau granted an extension of time to respond to the LOI,
TCN submitted a response on April 12, 2012. Upon review of the
response, the Bureau advised TCN that it did not consider the response
fully responsive to the LOI, and identified the information and
documents missing from the response.^ In addition, TCN did not provide
a sworn statement attesting to the truth and accuracy of its answers.
TCN failed to respond to several subsequent emails and to a letter
sent via certified mail with a return receipt requested^ and did not
provide any further information or documents.^
A. Apparent Violation
3. Under Section 503(b) of the Act, any person who is determined by the
Commission to have willfully or repeatedly failed to comply with any
of the provisions of the Act, or any rule or order issued by the
Commission under the Act, shall be liable for a forfeiture penalty.^
In order to impose such a forfeiture penalty, the Commission must
issue a notice of apparent liability and send such notice to the last
known address of the person against whom the notice has been issued,
and such person must have an opportunity to show, in writing, why no
such forfeiture penalty should be imposed.^
4. Sections 4(i), 218, and 403 of the Act give the Commission broad power
to compel carriers such as TCN to provide the information and
documents sought by the Bureau's LOI. Section 4(i) authorizes the
Commission to "issue such orders, not inconsistent with this Act, as
may be necessary in the execution of its functions."^ Section 218
authorizes the Commission to "obtain from . . . carriers . . . full
and complete information necessary to enable the Commission to perform
the duties and carry out the objects for which it was created."^
Section 403 states: "The Commission shall have the same powers and
authority to proceed with any inquiry . . . including the power to
make and enforce any order or orders in the case, or relating to the
matter or thing concerning which the inquiry is had."^
5. The LOI the Bureau directed to TCN served as a legal order of the
Commission to produce the requested documents and information. TCN
received the LOI and the follow-up letter, as evidenced by the return
receipts provided. TCN's failure to provide the documents and
information sought, including the requisite sworn
statement--especially after requesting and receiving an extension to
provide the information--within the time and manner specified
constitutes a violation of a Commission order.
B. Proposed Forfeiture Amount
6. Section 503(b)(2)(B) of the Act authorizes the Commission to assess a
forfeiture of up to $150,000 for each violation, or each day of a
continuing violation, up to a statutory maximum of $1,500,000 for a
single act or failure to act.^ In determining the appropriate
forfeiture amount, we consider the factors enumerated in Section
503(b)(2)(E) of the Act, including "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 such other matters as justice may require."^ Our forfeiture
guidelines set forth the base amount for certain kinds of violations,
and identify criteria, consistent with the Section 503(b)(2)(E)
factors, that may influence whether we adjust the base amount downward
or upward. For example, we may adjust a penalty upward for
"[e]gregious misconduct," or where the subject of an enforcement
action has engaged in an "[i]ntentional violation" or a "[r]epeated or
7. Pursuant to Section 1.80 of the Commission's rules and the
Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement, the base forfeiture amount
for failure to respond to Commission communications is $4,000.^ Using
our discretion to adjust the base forfeiture as circumstances warrant,
however, we have imposed penalties that are many times higher for
failing to respond properly to LOIs. For example, we have recently
imposed a forfeiture of $25,000 for completely failing to respond to
an LOI,^ and for failing to respond fully to an LOI,^ and have
proposed a forfeiture of $100,000 for failing to certify to the
accuracy of an LOI.^ We have imposed these penalties for lack of full
responsiveness to LOIs because "[m]isconduct of this type exhibits
contempt for the Commission's authority, and threatens to compromise
the Commission's ability to adequately investigate violations of its
8. We find that TCN's apparent failure to fully respond to the Bureau's
LOI in the circumstances presented here warrants a forfeiture of
$25,000 because its misconduct appears egregious, intentional, and
continuous.^ TCN's response to the LOI was insufficient. After
receiving a follow-up letter from Bureau staff reiterating the need
for complete and accurate responses, and warning it of the
consequences of failing to do so, TCN has still not fully responded to
the LOI or provided a sworn statement verifying the truth and accuracy
of its responses. Such apparent disregard for the Commission's
authority and investigatory process appears egregious, intentional,
and continuous, and therefore supports an adjustment upward from the
9. We also direct TCN to respond fully to the LOI within ten (10)
calendar days of the date of this NAL. Failure to do so may constitute
an additional, continuing violation subjecting TCN to future
enforcement action, proposing substantially greater forfeitures and
revocation of TCN's operating authority.^ Consistent with our past
precedent, other parties that engage in activities subject to the
Communications Act and our rules are on notice that failure to respond
properly to Bureau LOIs constitutes violations of Commission orders
and are subject to enforcement action.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
10. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Act, as amended, 47 U.S.C. S 503(b), and Section 1.80 of the
Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. S 1.80, Technical Communication Network,
LLC is hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE AND
ORDER in the amount of $25,000 for willfully violating an Enforcement
Bureau directive to respond to a letter of inquiry.
11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 1.80 of the
Commission's rules,^ within thirty (30) days of the release date of
this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, Technical
Communication Network, LLC SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed
forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking reduction or
cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
12. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Technical Communication Network, LLC SHALL
FULLY RESPOND, not later than ten (10) calendar days from the release
date of this NAL, to the Bureau's Letter of Inquiry dated February 8,
2012, in accordance with the delivery instructions set forth therein.
13. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by check or similar instrument,
wire transfer, or credit card, and must include the NAL/Account number
and FRN referenced above. Technical Communication Network, LLC shall
send electronic notification of payment to Johnny Drake at
Johnny.Drake@fcc.gov on the date said payment is made. Regardless of
the form of payment, a completed FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice) must
be submitted.^ When completing the FCC Form 159, enter the Account
Number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID) and enter the letters
"FORF" in block number 24A (payment type code). Below are additional
instructions you should follow based on the form of payment you
* Payment by check or money order must be made payable to the order of
the Federal Communications Commission. Such payments (along with the
completed Form 159) must be mailed to Federal Communications
Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000, or sent
via overnight mail to U.S. Bank - Government Lockbox #979088,
SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101.
* Payment by wire transfer must be made to ABA Number 021030004,
receiving bank TREAS/NYC, and Account Number 27000001. To complete
the wire transfer and ensure appropriate crediting of the wired funds,
a completed Form 159 must be faxed to U.S. Bank at (314) 418-4232 on
the same business day the wire transfer is initiated.
* Payment by credit card must be made by providing the required credit
card information on FCC Form 159 and signing and dating the Form 159
to authorize the credit card payment. The completed Form 159 must then
be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St.
Louis, MO 63197-9000, or sent via overnight mail to U.S. Bank -
Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St.
Louis, MO 63101.
Any request for full payment under an installment plan should be sent to:
Chief Financial Officer--Financial Operations, Federal Communications
Commission, 445 12^th Street, S.W., Room 1-A625, Washington, DC 20554.^
If you have questions regarding payment procedures, please contact the
Financial Operations Group Help Desk by phone, 1-877-480-3201, or by
14. The response, if any, must be mailed both to: Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12^th Street, SW,
Washington, DC 20554, ATTN: Enforcement Bureau - Telecommunications
Consumers Division; and to Richard A. Hindman, Division Chief,
Telecommunications Consumers Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal
Communications Commission, 445 12^th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554,
and must include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the caption.
Documents sent by overnight mail (other than United States Postal
Service Express Mail) must be addressed to: Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, Office of the Secretary,
9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743. Hand or
messenger-delivered mail should be directed, without envelopes, to:
Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission,
Office of the Secretary, 445 12^th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554
(deliveries accepted Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
only). See www.fcc.gov/osec/guidelines.html for further instructions
on FCC filing addresses.
15. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a proposed
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; 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 submitted.
16. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture and Order shall be sent by Certified Mail Return
Receipt Requested and First Class mail to Technical Communication
Network, LLC c/o Ramia Ainchayba, 535 Lexington Avenue, Clifton, NJ
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
P. Michele Ellison
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
^ According to our records and publicly available information, Technical
Communication Network, LLC is located at 535 Lexington Avenue, Clifton, NJ
07011. The Company's Chief Executive Officer is Ramia Ainchayba.
^ 47 U.S.C. SS 4(i), 4(j), 218, 403.
^ See Letter from Richard A. Hindman, Chief, Telecommunications Consumers
Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau, to TCN, Attention: Ramia Ainchayba (Feb.
8, 2012) (on file in EB-TCD-12-00000627) (LOI).
^ See E-mail from Erica McMahon, Attorney Advisor, Telecommunications
Consumers Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau, to Ramia Ainchayba (May 7,
2012) (noting that TCN did not provide, among other documents and
information requested, any copies of its prepaid calling cards and
^ See Letter from Kimberly A. Wild, Deputy Division Chief,
Telecommunications Consumers Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau, to TCN,
Attention: Ramia Ainchayba (Sept. 6, 2012) (on file in
EB-TCD-12-00000627). The letter stated, "[t]he LOI the Bureau directed to
TCN served as a legal order of the Commission to produce the requested
information and documents. TCN's failure to provide the requested
information and documents sought within the time and manner specified will
be considered a violation of a Commission order and could result in a
Notice of Apparent Liability."
^ The Clifton, NJ post office stamped the return receipt card September
^ 47 U.S.C. S 503(b); see also 47 C.F.R. S 1.80(a).
^ 47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(4); 47 C.F.R. S 1.80(f).
^ 47 U.S.C. S 154(i).
^ Id. S 218.
^ Id. S 403.
^ 47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(2)(B); see also 47 C.F.R. S 1.80(b)(2); Amendment of
Section 1.80 of the Commission's Rules and Adjustment of Forfeiture Maxima
to Reflect Inflation, Order, 23 FCC Rcd 9845 (2008) (inflation adjustment
^ 47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(2)(E); see also The Commission's Forfeiture Policy
Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the
Forfeiture Guidelines, 12 FCC Rcd 17087, 17100 (1997) (Forfeiture Policy
Statement), recon. denied 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999); 47 C.F.R. S 1.80(b)(8).
^ 47 C.F.R. S 1.80(b)(8) note.
^ 47 C.F.R. S 1.80; Forfeiture Policy Statement, 12 FCC Rcd at 17114,
Appendix A, Section I.
^ Net One International, Net One, LLC, Farrahtel International, LLC,
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 16493
(Enf. Bur. Dec. 9, 2011) (proposing $25,000 penalty for failure to respond
^ See, e.g., Google, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 27
FCC Rcd 4012 (Enf. Bur. Apr. 12, 2012) (proposing $25,000 penalty for
failure to respond fully to LOI); Fox Television Stations, Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 25 FCC Rcd 7074 (2010) (same) (Fox
^ See, e.g., SBC Communications, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 17 FCC Rcd 7589
(2002) (imposing $100,000 penalty for failing to submit a sworn written
^ Fox NAL, 25 FCC Rcd at 7081.
^ 47 C.F.R. S 1.80(b)(8), Note to paragraph (b)(8); Forfeiture Policy
Statement, 12 FCC Rcd at 17100, 17116, Appendix A, Section II.
^ See 1^st Source Information Specialists, Inc., d/b/a Locatecell.com,
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 21 FCC Rcd 8193, 8196-97,
para. 13 (2006), affirmed, 1^st Source Information Specialists, Inc.,
d/b/a Locatecell.com, Forfeiture Order, 22 FCC Rcd 431 (2007).
^ 47 C.F.R. S 1.80.
^ An FCC Form 159 and detailed instructions for completing the form may be
obtained at http://www.fcc.gov/Forms/Form159/159.pdf.
^ See 47 C.F.R. S 1.1914.
(Continued from previous page)
Federal Communications Commission DA 13-159
Federal Communications Commission DA 13-159