Federal Court Complaint Filed to Recover Unpaid $11,500 FCC Fine in Amateur Case

05/24/2017

The US Government has filed a civil complaint in Federal District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to recover an unpaid $11,500 fine that the FCC imposed in a Forfeiture Order 2 years ago on Brian Crow, K3VR, of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. The complaint was filed in Federal District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on the basis of Crow’s residence. FCC records list what appears to be a private mailbox address in Boynton Beach, Florida, for Crow. The office of the clerk for the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania confirmed to ARRL that the complaint was filed on May 8.

In January 2015, the FCC levied the $11,500 fine on Crow for allegedly causing deliberate interference. The FCC had linked its enforcement case against Crow with the separate case of Michael Guernsey, KZ8O (ex-ND8V), of Parchment, Michigan, whom the FCC has fined $22,000 for allegedly causing intentional interference with other Amateur Radio communications and for allegedly failing to identify. In both cases, the FCC said, it responded in March 2014 to “several complaints of intentional interference” on 14.313 MHz, and Commission agents used radio direction-finding techniques to determine the transmission sources.

According to the court complaint against Crow, FCC agents in March 2014 tracked transmissions to Crow’s residence and monitored them for approximately 3 hours and heard him transmit slow-scan television (SSTV) signals and a prerecorded voice transmission of another Amateur Radio station on the frequency.

“During this March 14, 2014, monitoring period, Defendant’s transmissions prevented other amateur licensees from communicating over the frequency and Defendant did not transmit his assigned call sign,” the complaint said. Agents also inspected Crow’s station and, the FCC reported, confirmed that it was capable of operating on 14.313 MHz.

As the complaint notes, Congress has decreed that forfeitures assessed by the FCC shall be “payable into the Treasury of the United States” and shall be “recoverable…in a civil suit in the name of the United States.”

The complaint seeks payment of the $11,500 fine plus interest and the plaintiff’s costs.

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