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Digital Millennium Copyright Act Cases (DMCA) - U.S. v. Lewis (M.D. Tenn.) (Satellite TV Cards)

July 11, 2002

U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
James K. Vines
United States Attorney
Byron M. Jones
Assistant U.S. Attorney

Longest Sentence for Satellite Television Piracy Affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

Nashville, TN - July 11 , 2002 - James K. Vines, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, announced that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today affirmed the 72-month federal prison sentence imposed against Alvin Lee Lewis, formerly of Thompson Station, Tennessee. Lewis was convicted for manufacturing and selling satellite television signal theft devices and for money laundering. According to satellite television industry observers this is the longest sentence yet imposed in a satellite television piracy prosecution in the United States.

Lewis, 46, was convicted May 28, 1999 on twelve counts of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering after a jury trial. These convictions stemmed from a fraudulent scheme in which Lewis and his then 20-year-old nephew, Brandon Scott, manufactured and sold electronic devices that unscrambled all satellite television channels, including premium channels and pay-per-view programming, without payment of the required subscription fees to satellite television programming providers. The money laundering convictions were based upon Lewis’ use of the proceeds from this mail and wire fraud scheme to further and promote that scheme.

Lewis was sentenced on August 30, 1999 by United States District Court Judge Thomas A. Higgins to serve seventy-two months in federal prison. Lewis also was ordered to pay restitution totaling $12.5 million to DirecTV.

Lewis initially failed to surrender to serve his 72-month sentence on November 1, 1999, as ordered by the District Court. Lewis was arrested by United States Marshals outside a room at the Tiki motel in Pensacola, Florida on November 23, 1999. He was returned by United States Marshals to the Middle District of Tennessee. On January 5, 2000, Lewis was indicted for failing to surrender to serve his original 72-month sentence. On March 13, 2000, Lewis pled guilty to that offense. On April 14, 2000, Lewis was sentenced to serve an additional 12-month sentence.

Lewis presently is confined at the Federal Correctional Institution in Memphis.

This case was investigated jointly by United States Secret Service Special Agent Robert Jones and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent Jo Lynch.


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