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Digital Millennium Copyright Act Cases (DMCA) - U.S. v. Kennedy (D.R.I.) (Satellite TV Cards; Operation Smartcard.net)


Cranston Man is Sentenced to Fourteen Months in Prison for Selling Illegal Satellite Television Devices

Thomas Kennedy was caught in Operation Smartcard.net, a nationwide "sting" set up by the Customs Service.

February 15, 2001

Thomas Kennedy, 46, of Cranston, was sentenced today to 14 months in federal prison for illegally selling electronic cards that unscramble satellite television signals. Kennedy is one of approximately 15 defendants nationwide, including a Warwick man, who were caught in a sting operation set up on the Internet by the U.S. Customs Service.

United States Attorney Margaret E. Curran announced the sentence, which was imposed today by U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi in U.S. District Court, Providence. Before imposing sentence, Judge Lisi noted that Kennedy has prior state convictions for similar offenses, selling cable television boxes, and that he was on probation for one of those offenses when he was selling the counterfeit satellite cards..

166 cards

In November, Kennedy, of 575 Dyer Avenue, Cranston, pled guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of fraudulently selling electronic devices, admitting that, between November 1998 and June 1999, he sold approximately 166 television access cards. He had obtained the cards through an Internet business that was actually a sting set up by the Customs Service. In October, Judge Lisi sentenced another defendant in the investigation, Brian Angell, 30, of 43 Stephanie Court, Warwick, to a years probation and a $5,000 fine.

Operation Smartcard.net

The nationwide Customs investigation, known as Operation Smartcard.net, identified individuals who bought counterfeit satellite television access cards on the Internet in large quantities for resale and profit. These cards allowed users to obtain satellite television programming at no monthly cost, resulting in an estimated loss of $6.2 million a year to the satellite TV industry. The investigation began when Customs agents created an Internet website advertisement that offered to sell satellite television access cards known as "Eurocards".

Fifteen defendants

In addition to the two Rhode Island defendants, approximately 15 individuals nationwide have been convicted in connection with Operation Smartcard.net. The prosecutions are being coordinated by the Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) in the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, working with the U.S. Attorney’s offices in the districts where the cases have been prosecuted.

The case against Kennedy was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terrence P. Donnelly. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew J. Reich prosecuted the case against Angell.

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