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Nathaniel Johnson

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Released: May 14, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1089

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
Nathaniel Johnson
)
File No.: EB-FIELDNER-12-00002628
)
NAL/Acct. No.: 201332400002
Owner and Operator of Citizens Band Station,
)
FRN: 0022693972
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
)
)

NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE AND ORDER

Adopted: May 14, 2013
Released: May 14, 2013
By the District Director, Philadelphia Office, Northeast Region, Enforcement Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order (NAL), we find that Nathaniel
Johnson, owner and operator of a Citizens Band (CB) station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, apparently
willfully and repeatedly violated Section 303(n) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act),1
and Section 95.426(a) of the Commission’s rules (Rules),2 by failing to make his CB station available for
inspection by authorized FCC representatives; and also willfully violated Section 95.423 of the Rules, by
failing to comply with the restricted hours of CB station operation as required in an official FCC notice.3
We conclude that Mr. Johnson is apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of eighteen thousand
dollars ($18,000). In addition, we direct Mr. Johnson to submit, no later than thirty (30) calendar days from
the date of this NAL, a sworn statement confirming compliance with the operational restrictions of his CB
station and specifying a date and time for inspection of his CB station.

II.

BACKGROUND

2.
On January 19, 2012, the FCC received a complaint that Mr. Johnson’s CB station was
causing interference to his neighbors’ telephone and television reception.4 When agents in the Enforcement
Bureau’s Philadelphia Office (Philadelphia Office) attempted to conduct an on-scene inspection at Mr.
Johnson’s residence on February 16, 2012, no one answered the agents’ knock on the door. On March 19,
2012, the Philadelphia Office sent a Warning Letter (by both certified and first class mail) to Mr. Johnson,
directing him to contact the Philadelphia Office within ten (10) calendar days to schedule an inspection.5


1 47 U.S.C. § 303(n).
2 47 C.F.R. § 95.426(a).
3 47 C.F.R. § 95.423.
4 See Letter from Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr., to Greg Guice, Acting Director, Office of Legislative Affairs, FCC
(Jan. 19, 2012) (on file in EB-FIELDNER-12-00002628).
5 See Letter from David Dombrowski, Acting District Director, Philadelphia Office, Enforcement Bureau, to
Nathaniel Johnson (March 19, 2012) (on file in EB-FIELDNER-12-00002628). The copy of the letter that was sent
by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, was returned unclaimed; however, the copy that was sent by U.S. first
class mail was not returned.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1089

The Warning Letter also specified that if the harmful interference continued, and arrangements were not
made with the Philadelphia Office to schedule an inspection, the Commission might impose restricted hours
of operation for the CB station. Mr. Johnson did not contact the Philadelphia Office to schedule an
inspection as directed.
3.
On May 14, 2012, after continuing to receive additional interference complaints, the
Philadelphia Office sent a letter (by both certified and first class mail) to Mr. Johnson, pursuant to Section
95.423(b) of the Rules,6 directing him, his family, and any guests visiting him, not to operate any base or
mobile CB radio transmitter from his residence or adjacent roadways between the hours of 8 a.m. and
11:30 p.m. (hereinafter referred to as “Quiet Hours”) until he contacted the Philadelphia Office to make
arrangements for an inspection of his CB radio facility and an inspection was completed.7 Mr. Johnson
was warned that a violation of the restriction could result in the imposition of a forfeiture. Again, Mr.
Johnson did not contact the Philadelphia Office to schedule an inspection.
4.
After issuance of the May 14, 2012, letter, the Philadelphia Office continued to receive
complaints from Mr. Johnson’s neighbors concerning the same radio interference issue to their televisions
and telephones. On June 12, 2012, the Philadelphia Office issued Mr. Johnson another Warning Letter,
which informed him about the complaints and reminded him that the Quiet Hours restriction imposed in
the May 14, 2012, letter remained in effect until he contacted the Philadelphia Office to schedule an
inspection and an inspection is completed.8 The letter specifically directed Mr. Johnson to contact the
Philadelphia Office within ten (10) calendar days from the date on the letter to schedule an inspection or
face potential enforcement action, including the imposition of a forfeiture. The Philadelphia Office did
not receive a response to the letter.
5.
On October 11, 2012, agents from the Philadelphia Office performed an on-scene
investigation to confirm the source of interference to televisions and telephones in Mr. Johnson’s
neighborhood. At 9:55 a.m. (during the Quiet Hours period), the agents monitored multiple radio
transmissions on the frequencies 27.025 MHz, 27.055 MHz, and 27.015 MHz. The agents used radio
direction finding techniques and confirmed that transmissions were emanating from a CB station located
at Mr. Johnson’s residence, which the agents believed was the source of the interference. Immediately
thereafter, the agents knocked multiple times on the door of the residence, but no one answered; however,
the transmissions on 27.025 MHz, 27.055 MHz, and 27.015 MHz ceased, suggesting that Mr. Johnson (or
someone he designated) turned off the CB station while the agents were outside the residence. The agents
left copies of the June 12 Warning Letter (on Mr. Johnson’s front door, back door, and in his mailbox) to
remind him of the operational restrictions and the directive to immediately contact the Philadelphia Office
to schedule an inspection. As of the date of this NAL, Mr. Johnson still has not contacted the
Philadelphia Office, and the Philadelphia Office continues to receive interference complaints concerning
Mr. Johnson’s CB station.


6 47 C.F.R. § 95.423(b).
7 See Letter from Kevin Doyle, Acting District Director, Philadelphia Office, Enforcement Bureau, to Nathaniel
Johnson (May 14, 2012) (on file in EB-FIELDNER-12-00002628). The Philadelphia Office received the signed
certified mail return receipt card; the card reflects that it was signed by a Mr. Johnson, as recipient, and dated May
16, 2012.
8 See Letter from Kevin Doyle, Acting District Director, Philadelphia Office, Enforcement Bureau, to Nathaniel
Johnson (June 12, 2012) (on file in EB-FIELDNER-12-00002628) (June 12 Warning Letter). The copy of the letter
that was sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, was returned unclaimed; however, the copy of the letter
that was sent by U.S. first class mail was not returned.
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Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1089

III.

DISCUSSION

6.
Section 503(b) of the Act provides that any person who willfully or repeatedly fails to
comply substantially with the terms and conditions of any license, or willfully or repeatedly fails to comply
with any of the provisions of the Act or of any rule, regulation, or order issued by the Commission
thereunder, shall be liable for a forfeiture penalty.9 Section 312(f)(1) of the Act defines “willful” as the
“conscious and deliberate commission or omission of [any] act, irrespective of any intent to violate” the
law.10 The legislative history to Section 312(f)(1) of the Act clarifies that this definition of willful applies to
both Sections 312 and 503(b) of the Act,11 and the Commission has so interpreted the term in the Section
503(b) context.12 The Commission may also assess a forfeiture for violations that are merely repeated,
and not willful.13 The term “repeated” means the commission or omission of such act more than once or for
more than one day.14

A.

Failure to Comply with Restricted Hours of CB Station Operation

7.
The evidence in this case is sufficient to establish that Mr. Johnson violated Section 95.423
of the Rules. Section 95.423(a) of the Rules states that if the FCC informs a CB operator that his or her
station is causing interference for technical reasons, the operator must follow all instructions in the official
FCC notice, including any request to make technical adjustments to equipment.15 Further, Section
95.423(b) requires such operators to comply with any restricted hours of CB station operation provided in
the official notice.16 On May 14, 2012, the Philadelphia Office issued an official letter to Mr. Johnson
restricting him, his family, or any guests from operating a CB Station between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and
11:30 p.m. (the “Quiet Hours” period) from his residence or adjacent roadways until he scheduled an
inspection with the FCC and the operational restriction is lifted.17 A certified copy of the letter was
signed by Mr. Johnson on May 16, 2012, confirming his receipt. Despite receiving notification
prohibiting CB operations during Quiet Hours, the Commission continued to receive complaints alleging
interference from CB operations from Mr. Johnson’s residence. Indeed, on October 11, 2012, agents


9 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
10 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1).
11 H.R. Rep. No. 97-765, 97th Cong. 2d Sess. 51 (1982) (“This provision [inserted in Section 312] defines the terms
‘willful’ and ‘repeated’ for purposes of section 312, and for any other relevant section of the act (e.g., Section 503)
. . . . As defined[,] . . . ‘willful’ means that the licensee knew that he was doing the act in question, regardless of
whether there was an intent to violate the law. ‘Repeated’ means more than once, or where the act is continuous, for
more than one day. Whether an act is considered to be ‘continuous’ would depend upon the circumstances in each
case. The definitions are intended primarily to clarify the language in Sections 312 and 503, and are consistent with
the Commission’s application of those terms . . . .”).
12 See, e.g., Southern California Broadcasting Co., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6 FCC Rcd 4387, 4388
(1991), recons. denied, 7 FCC Rcd 3454 (1992).
13 See, e.g., Callais Cablevision, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for Monetary Forfeiture, 16 FCC Rcd 1359,
1362, para. 10 (2001) (Callais Cablevision, Inc.) (proposing a forfeiture for, inter alia, a cable television operator’s
repeated signal leakage).
14 Section 312(f)(2) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(2), which also applies to violations for which forfeitures are
assessed under Section 503(b) of the Act, provides that “[t]he term 'repeated', when used with reference to the
commission or omission of any act, means the commission or omission of such act more than once or, if such
commission or omission is continuous, for more than one day.” See Callais Cablevision, Inc., 16 FCC Rcd at 1362.
15 47 C.F.R. § 95.423(a).
16 47 C.F.R. § 95.423(b).
17 See supra note 7.
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DA 13-1089

from the Philadelphia Office confirmed that CB radio transmissions were emanating from Mr. Johnson’s
residence at 9:55 a.m., which is within the Quiet Hours period. Based on the evidence before us, we find
that Mr. Johnson apparently willfully violated Section 95.423 of the Rules by failing to comply with an
official FCC notice prohibiting operation of his CB Station during Quiet Hours.

B.

Repeated Failure to Allow Inspection of a CB Station

8.
The evidence in this case also establishes that Mr. Johnson repeatedly violated Section
303(n) of the Act and Section 95.426(a) of the Rules. Section 303(n) of the Act states that the Commission
has the “authority to inspect all radio installations associated with stations required to be licensed by any
Act, or which the Commission by rule has authorized to operate without a license under [S]ection
307(e)(1).”18 Section 307(e)(1) expressly includes “the citizen band radio service.”19 With respect to the
Commission’s rules, Section 95.426(a) of the Rules (CB Rule 26) states: “If an authorized FCC
representative requests to inspect your CB station, you must make your CB station and records available for
inspection.”20
9.
As the record reflects, FCC agents directed Mr. Johnson on multiple occasions (i.e., by
issuance of an official FCC letter notice on March 19, 2012; May 14, 2012; and June 12, 2012) to
immediately contact the Philadelphia Office to schedule an inspection of his CB station in light of
complaints alleging interference caused by his CB station. Notwithstanding those directives, Mr. Johnson
never contacted the Philadelphia Office to schedule an inspection, and apparently continued to operate his
CB station in direct violation of the Quiet Hours restriction provided in the May 14, 2012, notice from the
FCC. On October 11, 2012, FCC agents conducted an on-scene inspection at Mr. Johnson’s residence
after receiving further complaints of interference from his neighbors. During the on-scene inspection, the
agents confirmed, at around 9:55 a.m. (during the Quiet Hours period), that CB radio transmissions were
emanating from Mr. Johnson’s home. The agents, thereafter, knocked on the door of the residence in an
attempt to interview Mr. Johnson and inspect his CB station, but Mr. Johnson did not answer, although
the transmissions immediately ceased, suggesting that someone inside the residence (likely Mr. Johnson)
turned off the CB station. Given Mr. Johnson’s apparent refusal to answer the agents’ repeated knocks on
his door, the agents proceeded to leave multiple copies of the June 12 Warning Letter in Mr. Johnson’s
mailbox and on various exterior doors of the residence. To date, Mr. Johnson has not contacted the
Philadelphia Office as directed, and complaints of interference from his CB operations remain unabated.
Based on the evidence before us, we find that Mr. Johnson apparently willfully and repeatedly violated
Section 303(n) of the Act and Section 95.426(a) of the Rules by failing to make his CB Station available for
inspection.

C.

Proposed Forfeiture and Inspection Requirement

10.
Pursuant to the Commission’s Forfeiture Policy Statement and Section 1.80 of the Rules,
the base forfeiture amount for failure to allow inspection of radio equipment (including a CB station) is
$7,000.21 Although there is no base forfeiture amount in Section 1.80 of the Rules for failure to comply
with a Commission directive prohibiting CB operations during specific hours, we find that the nature of the
violation in this case is similar to a failure to respond to a Commission communication, which carries a base


18 47 U.S.C. § 303(n).
19 47 U.S.C. § 307(e)(1) (“[T]he Commission may by rule authorize the operation of radio stations without
individual licenses in the . . . citizens band radio service . . . .”).
20 47 C.F.R. § 95.426(a).
21 The Commission’s Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the
Forfeiture Guidelines
, Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997) (Forfeiture Policy Statement), recons. denied,
15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999); 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
4

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DA 13-1089

forfeiture amount of $4,000.22 In assessing the monetary forfeiture amount, we must also take into account
the statutory factors set forth in Section 503(b)(2)(E) of the Act, which include the nature, circumstances,
extent, and gravity of the violations, and with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of
prior offenses, ability to pay, and other such matters as justice may require.23
11.
In this case, we find that Mr. Johnson’s failure to permit a lawful inspection of his CB
station, after multiple notices directing him to do so, justifies a $7,000 upward adjustment of the base
amount for this violation.24 Misconduct of this type is serious, exhibits contempt for the Commission’s
authority, and threatens to compromise the Commission’s ability to fully investigate violations of its rules.
As such, we caution Mr. Johnson that a failure to schedule an inspection as directed in this NAL may result
in the imposition of additional (and potentially higher) forfeitures, as well as other enforcement actions, as
appropriate, including the seizure of his equipment.25 Applying the Forfeiture Policy Statement, Section
1.80 of the Rules, and the statutory factors to the instant case, we conclude that Mr. Johnson is apparently
liable for a total forfeiture in the amount of $18,000.
12.
We further order Mr. Johnson to submit a written statement, pursuant to Section 1.16 of the
Rules, signed under penalty of perjury, confirming compliance with the Quiet Hours restriction and
specifying an appropriate date and time (during FCC business hours and a date no later than forty-five (45)
calendar days from issuance of this NAL) when FCC agents can inspect his CB Station.26 This statement
must be provided to the Philadelphia Office at the address listed in paragraph 15, below, within thirty (30)
calendar days of the release date of this NAL.

IV.

ORDERING CLAUSES

13.
Accordingly,

IT IS ORDERED

that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Communications
Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314, and 1.80 of the Commission’s rules,
Nathaniel Johnson is hereby

NOTIFIED

of this

APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE

in the
amount of eighteen thousand dollars ($18,000) for violations of Section 303(n) of the Act and Sections
95.423 and 95.426(a) of the Rules.27
14.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that, pursuant to Section 1.80 of the Commission’s rules,
within thirty (30) calendar days of the release date of this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and
Order, Nathaniel Johnson

SHALL PAY

the full amount of the proposed forfeiture or

SHALL FILE

a
written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
15.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that Nathaniel Johnson

SHALL SUBMIT

a written
statement, as described in paragraph 12, above, within thirty (30) calendar days of the release date of this
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order. The statement must be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Northeast Region, Philadelphia Office, 2300 East


22 See id.
23 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(E).
24 See, e.g., Gabriel A. Garcia, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 26 FCC Rcd 6692 (Enf. Bur. 2011)
(proposing $25,000 forfeiture for repeated failure to allow inspection of an unlicensed broadcast station), aff’d,
Forfeiture Order, 27 FCC Rcd 2370 (Enf. Bur. 2012).
25 See 47 U.S.C. §§ 401, 501, 503, 510. Accord Michael William Downer, Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, 27 FCC Rcd 7962, 7965, para. 8 (Enf. Bur. 2012).
26 Mr. Johnson can also call the Philadelphia Office at (215) 741-3016 within thirty (30) calendar days of the release
of this NAL to schedule a date for an inspection.
27 47 U.S.C. §§ 303(n), 503(b); 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80, 95.423, 95.426(a).
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Lincoln Highway, One Oxford Valley Building, Suite 404, Langhorne, PA 19047. Nathaniel Johnson shall
also e-mail the written statement to NER-Response@fcc.gov.
16.
Payment of the forfeiture must be made by check or similar instrument, wire transfer, or
credit card, and must include the NAL/Account number and FRN referenced above. Nathaniel Johnson
shall also send electronic notification on the date said payment is made to NER-Response@fcc.gov.
Regardless of the form of payment, a completed FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice) must be
submitted.28 When completing the FCC Form 159, enter the Account Number in block number 23A (call
sign/other ID) and enter the letters “FORF” in block number 24A (payment type code). Below are
additional instructions you should follow based on the form of payment you select:
·
Payment by check or money order must be made payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission. Such payments (along with the completed Form 159) must be
mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000,
or sent via overnight mail to U.S. Bank – Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005
Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101.
·
Payment by wire transfer must be made to ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank
TREAS/NYC, and Account Number 27000001. To complete the wire transfer and ensure
appropriate crediting of the wired funds, a completed Form 159 must be faxed to U.S. Bank at
(314) 418-4232 on the same business day the wire transfer is initiated.
·
Payment by credit card must be made by providing the required credit card information on FCC
Form 159 and signing and dating the Form 159 to authorize the credit card payment. The
completed Form 159 must then be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box
979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000, or sent via overnight mail to U.S. Bank – Government
Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101.
17.
Any request for full payment under an installment plan should be sent to: Chief Financial
Officer—Financial Operations, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 1-
A625, Washington, D.C. 20554.29 If you have questions regarding payment procedures, please contact
the Financial Operations Group Help Desk by phone, 1-877-480-3201, or by e-mail,
ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov.
18.
The written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture, if
any, must include a detailed factual statement supported by appropriate documentation and affidavits
pursuant to Sections 1.16 and 1.80(f)(3) of the Rules.30 Mail the written statement to Federal
Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Northeast Region, Philadelphia Office, 2300 East
Lincoln Highway, One Oxford Valley Building, Suite 404, Langhorne, PA 19047, and include the
NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the caption. Nathaniel Johnson also shall e-mail the written response to NER-
Response@fcc.gov.
19.
The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture in response to a claim
of inability to pay unless the petitioner submits: (1) federal tax returns for the most recent three-year period;
(2) financial statements prepared according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP); or (3)
some other reliable and objective documentation that accurately reflects the petitioner’s current financial


28 An FCC Form 159 and detailed instructions for completing the form may be obtained at
http://www.fcc.gov/Forms/Form159/159.pdf.
29 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.
30 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.16, 1.80(f)(3).
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status. Any claim of inability to pay must specifically identify the basis for the claim by reference to the
financial documentation submitted.
20.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture and Order shall be sent by both Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, and First Class Mail to
Nathaniel Johnson at his address of record.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David Dombrowski
District Director
Philadelphia Office
Northeast Region
Enforcement Bureau
7

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