U.S. Department of Justice - CyberCrime.gov Archived

Digital Millennium Copyright Act Cases (DMCA) - U.S. v. Butler (N.D. Ohio) (Satellite TV Cards)

Press Release
For Immediate Release
October 1, 2001
U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Emily M. Sweeney
Northern District of Ohio
Robert W. Kern
Assistant U.S. Attorney
(216) 622-3836

Man Pleads Guilty to Selling and Distributing Illegal Satellite TV Cards

Emily M. Sweeney, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced that on October 1, 2001, Joel L. Butler, age 40, of 9175 Township Road 79, Millersburg, Ohio, entered a guilty plea to a one count indictment which charged him with selling and distributing electronic devices primarily used for unauthorized decryption of direct-to-home satellite television services, in violation of Title 47, United States Code, Section 605(e)(4).

The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in Cleveland, Ohio, on August 7, 2001, charged that between on or about June 1, 1997, and on or about February 26, 2001, in the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, Joel L. Butler sold and distributed to various individual customers, at least 50 "hacked" and "unlooped" DirecTV DSS satellite access cards, which Butler had fraudulently altered and modified for the express purpose of illegally receiving and decrypting DirecTV DSS satellite television programming, including pay-per-view programs and premium channels such as HBO, Showtime and Cinemax, without paying the subscription fees normally associated with such programming. According to documents filed with the Court, the defendant admitted causing DirecTV to suffer loss revenue in the approximate amount of $100,000 as a result of the conduct charged in the indictment.

Butler is scheduled to be sentenced on December 10, 2001, by U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent, following the completion of a Presentence Investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Kern, following an investigation by the Mansfield and Canton Offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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