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Digital Millennium Copyright Act Cases (DMCA) - U.S. v. Walter (C.D. Cal.) (Satellite TV Cards; Operation Decrypt)

December 18, 2002


U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Central District of California
Thom Mrozek
Public Affairs Officer
(213) 894-6947

Los Angeles Man Pleads Guilty To Manufacturing And Selling Satellite Television Access Devices; He Acknowledges Nearly $15 Million Loss To Dish Network  

A West Los Angeles man pleaded guilty today to federal charges of illegally manufacturing and selling more than 6,000 devices that circumvented the encryption technologies of DirecTV and DISH Network and allowed people to view pay television programming free.

Randyl Walter, 45, pleaded guilty to one felony count of manufacturing and distributing hardware devices he designed to circumvent the encryption technologies of DirecTV and DISH Network. The 6,000 devices manufactured and sold by Walter caused nearly $15 million in losses to one satellite broadcast company.

From at least January 2001 until March 2002, Walter used his company, PC MED_TECH, INC., to manufacture and distribute electronic and mechanical devices, knowing that the items would be used primarily to enable the unauthorized decryption of satellite cable programming and other satellite services. To market the satellite decryption devices, Walter maintained various sites on the Internet, where he offered various items for sale. Walter used his specialized knowledge as an electrician and a computer programmer to develop hardware devices to facilitate satellite signal theft, and Walter sold thousands of such devices knowing that they would be used to steal satellite signals.

Walter sold approximately 6,000 .Womper. cards that enable a properly configured satellite receiver to receive unlimited programming from DISH Network. Unlimited programming on DISH Network would cost a legitimate consumer $2,477 per year (based upon the annual cost to consumers of the DISH Everything Pak, the local channel package, the superstations package, the Playboy channel, Eclips, the Extasy package, one pay-per-view event per month and 10 movies per month). Consequently, the 6,000 Wompers sold by defendant from January 2001 through March 2002 cost DISH Network approximately $14,862,960 in lost programming revenues.

Walter pleaded guilty before United States District Senior Judge Wm. Matthew Byrne Jr. Walter, who is currently on bond, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Byrne on April 7, 2003. At sentencing Walter faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney James W. Spertus (213) 894-5872 Release No. 02-177


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