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You may want to know Cable Theft Penalties before you start to steal cable. California Penal 593(d) outlines the penalties for Cable television Theft in California. These are criminal penalties and do not cover civil penalties under the federal law.
(1) Any person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), byimprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 90 days, or by both that fine and imprisonment. However, it is important to know the sentencing practice in the court you are dealing with. In Orange County you may be allowed to do house arrest and therefore stay out of jail depending on your background. In addition, LA County have their own sentencing practices which may be maneuvered.
(2) Any person who violates subdivision (b) shall be punished as follows:
If the violation involves the manufacture, assembly, modification, importation into this state, distribution, advertisement for sale, or possession for sale or for any of these purposes, of 10 or more of the items described in subdivision (b) or the sale or offering for sale of five or more items for financial gain, the person shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison, by a fine not exceeding two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
If the violation involves the manufacture, assembly, modification, importation into this state, distribution, advertisement for sale, or possession for sale or for any of these purposes, of nine or less of the items described in subdivision (b) or the sale or offering for sale of four or less items for financial gain, shall upon a conviction of a first offense, be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, by a fine not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. A second or subsequent conviction shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison, by a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
Any person who violates subdivision (c) shall be punished by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), by imprisonment in a county jail, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
Any person who violates this section shall be liable in a civil action to the multichannel video or information services provider for the greater of the following amounts:Black market cable may not save you much money in the long run. If you are intercepting or receiving cable-television then you may want to think twice about continuing with your service provider. The best way to get cable TV is by getting it from the official service provider such as Time Warner, Dish Network or Direct TV.
(1) Cable Theft Penalties run deep. Civilly a person can be found in violation and be subject to a $5000 fine per violation. This happens when a person is found in violation then removes the seal and steals cable for the second time. Once the cable company find out about the second violation, they will send out litigation letters for the purpose of a civil lawsuits. The first removal is about Five thousand dollars ($5,000) however it is not practical for the companies to send it out to an attorney for litigation at this level. However, once the second time occurs then the damages come up to $10,000 and Time Warner will send it out to an aggressive cable theft attorney for the purpose of litigation. The penalties on these can run up to $10,000.
(2) Three times the amount of actual damages, if any, sustained by the plaintiff plus reasonable attorney’s fees for Cable Theft. A Cable Theft civil lawsuit can cost thousands of dollars easily. Depositions will be heard and if a defendant does not prevail on a civil lawsuit the statute will entitle the cable company to a reasonable attorney fee. The cable company may be entitled to three times the amount of actual damages and $5000 per violation. There is also a federal statute that punishes you up to $10,000 for Cable theft.
There are several ways the cable company can detect illegal methods of getting channels.
Auditors will check a house randomly and if they see a house is hooked up to a line while they are not supposed to be then they will make a note of it. Auditors will then put a tag on the cable line letting the residents know that they are not allowed to have cable. After this warning they are given another chance. Many times the problem will occur again if he person continues to persist to get free cable. What happens next is the person will let call the illegal supplier and the supplier will go back out and reconnect the cable line. When this happens, they are creating a second violation. This uses up the free bite and the cable company will then get serious about the case and bring in very aggressive Cable Theft attorneys who will follow up with the court and seek legal remedies.
These Cable Theft attorneys for the cable company will follow up on litigation if this happens. One such company who uses these attorneys is Time Warner. Time Warner takes cable theft very seriously. They have a program to curve cable theft and spells out there proceduresonline. There are different categories of theft.
1) Active Thefts,
2) Passive Thefts,
3) Assisting Others,
4) Subscription Fraud, and
5) Primary Theft
Cable Thefts get complicated things when a person lives in a condominium or a house because there are multiple people living there. This happens when a person taps cable and causes others signals to go weak. This is usually the result of poor quality work being done at the house. There are people out there who will offer a very great deal and guarantee. They will tell you that you will not get caught and you will not be subject to Cable Theft Penalties.
Another method cable companies use to find cable theft is a hotline or web submission form for people to fill out. Cable companies will a form for submission of information. This encourages people to start reporting on their neighbors. This increases reporting among neighbors and gossipers.
Many modems come with speed limits on them. When you pay for a service you agree to limit your instruments to certain speed limits. However there are third party instructions on the internet on how to remove these speed limits on your cable modem. By doing this modification you are putting yourself under this statue and subjecting yourself prosecution under this penal code and civil penalties.
Dish Network signals are not able to be decrypted. However, there are sellers out there who sell keys to desirable Dish Network’s signals for the purpose of getting unauthorized services. There is a black market for these keys. Like most black markets and any businesses there are records to be kept. These records are kept when there are online services especially when merchant services are used. The records are used like a ledger when a drug dealer is busted or as a Red Book when a madam is busted for prostitution. It acts as a criminal list of who to prosecute because of the names of all the people involved. The people involved who bought the keys are subject to prosecution both on a civil level and one a state level as well for their theft of access codes. Things can also get very dangerous for you when you are dealing with codes in bulk as these are grounds for distribution.
When you order a satellite television setup, you order only for one location and separate rooms. The contract was not designed to be shared at different locations and your place of business. When this happens the company will get ahold of you and try to settle the case. However, the settlements are very high are near the statutory limit of $10,000.
Do Not Ignore the Letter!
The attorneys who represent these cable companies are aggressive attorneys. After winning a lawsuit by either default or trial their attorney will go after a person by garnishments and other means. This does not address the potential criminal action as well. The fine can run up to $110,000 for each violation in addition to attorney fees and cost. They will then post their results online.
Cable companies, satellite Television providers like Dish Network and Direct television go out of their way to deter would be pirates and current pirates to further the cause of cable television theft prevention. The California State Penal Code also recognizes this which makes it a crime punishable as a misdemeanor. There are a few ways people can fall under this penal section as will be explained below. One obvious way is actively going out to get access. This can either be doing it themselves or having a third-party such as an illegal installer do the installation for them. One more common way people fall under this category is when people move into a house and the existing line is already hooked up. The people who moved into the house have inherited a sticky situation. In this scenario the cable company will argue that they should have self-reported themselves.
Any person who, for the purpose of intercepting, receiving, or using any program or other service. This means that if a person offered you free Cable/satellite or a one-time fee and you are not going thru the official channel then this means you are intercepting the signal for the purpose of this statue therefore you are not authorized by that provider to receive or use the signal. These unauthorized agents will give you deal somewhere along the lines of one time setup for life with all premium channels and unlimited internet speeds. In addition, they will also say that you can call them to come by to fix any issues. Cable providers will regularly send out auditors andprograms for people to self-report their neighbors. The auditors will remove the signals or cables from your house the first time around and put a tag saying that any additional violations will cost you 10,000 dollars. However, the unauthorized provider will come back and reinstall the cable. Afterwards Cable companies will send their attorneys out who will take the matters to litigation.
It’s important that the attorney you have knows what they are doing. There are many attorneys out there who practice Estate Law or Bankruptcy who have no business representing clients in this type of case.
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