Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554In the Matter of
File No: EB-11-MA-0044
NAL/Acct. No: 201232600007
West Palm Beach, Florida
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Adopted:February 1, 2012
Released:February 1, 2012
By the Resident Agent, Miami Office, South Central Region, Enforcement Bureau:
In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), we find that Robens Cheriza
apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended
(Act),1 by operating an unlicensed radio transmitter on the frequency 107.3 MHz from his residence in West
Palm Beach, Florida. We conclude that Mr. Cheriza is apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of
twenty thousand dollars ($20,000).
On April 2, 2011, based on a complaint by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of
interference to Palm Beach International Airport’s control tower frequency 119.1 MHz2 from an
unlicensed station on 107.3 MHz, agents from the Enforcement Bureau’s Miami Office (Miami Office)
used direction-finding techniques to locate the source of radio frequency transmissions on the frequencies
107.3 MHz and 119.1 MHz to an antenna mounted at a residence in West Palm Beach, Florida. The agents
determined that the signal on 107.3 MHz exceeded the limits for operation under Part 15 of the
Commission’s rules (Rules),3 and therefore required a license. Commission records showed no
authorization issued to Mr. Cheriza or to anyone else for operation of an FM broadcast station at or near this
address on either of these frequencies.
On the date of the investigation—just moments before entering Mr. Cheriza’s residence—
agents observed that the station on 107.3 MHz all of a sudden went off the air. In response to a request to
inspect his transmitting equipment, Mr. Cheriza escorted agents to the enclosed patio, where agents
observed an FM broadcast transmitter connected by coaxial cable to the transmitting antenna. The agents
1 47 U.S.C. § 301.
2 The frequency 119.1 MHz lies within the 108-121.94 MHz band and is listed as a restricted band in Section
15.205(a) of the Commission’s rules. 47 C.F.R. § 15.205(a).
3 Part 15 of the Rules sets out the conditions and technical requirements under which certain radio transmission
devices may be used without a license. In relevant part, Section 15.239 of the Rules provides that non-licensed
broadcasting in the 88-108 MHz band is permitted only if the field strength of the transmission does not exceed 250
μV/m at three meters. 47 C.F.R. § 15.239.
Federal Communications Commission
DA 12-112also observed that the transmitter was connected by audio cables to an operational broadcast studio,
consisting of a PC computer, laptop, microphone, and audio mixer, in Mr. Cheriza’s residence. Mr.
Cheriza stated that he was the owner of the studio and transmitting equipment and had operated the
station on 107.3 MHz from his residence for about a month. Mr. Cheriza also stated that he was aware
that operating an unlicensed station was illegal. During the inspection, the agents confirmed that the
station they had monitored on 107.3 MHz came back on the air when Mr. Cheriza turned the transmitter on
momentarily. In addition, Mr. Cheriza confirmed that he broadcast a party live from his residence on the
evening of April 1, 2011, which is consistent with the FAA’s complaint about hearing audio of a party on
107.3 MHz and 119.1 MHz on the evening of April 1, 2011; and it was the latter transmission that
interfered with the FAA’s control tower frequency.
Section 503(b) of the Act4 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. 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.5
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,6 and the Commission has so interpreted the term in the Section 503(b)
context.7 The Commission may also assess a forfeiture for violations that are merely repeated, and not
willful.8 The term “repeated” means the commission or omission of such act more than once or for more
than one day.9
Section 301 of the Act states that no person shall use or operate any apparatus for the
transmission of energy or communications or signals by radio within the United States, except under and in
accordance with the Act and with a license granted under the provisions of the Act.10 On April 2, 2011, Mr.
4 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
5 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1).
6 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 . . . .”).
7 See, e.g., Application for Review of Southern California Broadcasting Co., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6
FCC Rcd 4387, 4388 (1991), recons. denied, 7 FCC Rcd 3454 (1992) (Southern California Broadcasting Co.).
8 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).
9 Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd at 4388, para. 5; Callais Cablevision, Inc., 16 FCC Rcd at 1362,
para. 9. 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.”
10 47 U.S.C. § 301.
Federal Communications Commission
DA 12-112Cheriza operated an unlicensed radio station on the frequency 107.3 MHz from his residence in West Palm
Beach, Florida. Mr. Cheriza admitted to operating the unlicensed station from his residence for about a
month. A review of the Commission’s records revealed that Mr. Cheriza did not have a license to operate a
radio station at this location. Because Mr. Cheriza consciously operated the station and on more than one
day, the apparent violation was both willful and repeated. Therefore, based on the evidence before us, we
find that Mr. Cheriza apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section 301 of the Act by operating radio
transmission equipment without the required Commission authorization.
Proposed Forfeiture Amount6.
Pursuant to the Commission’s Forfeiture Policy Statement and Section 1.80 of the Rules,
the base forfeiture amount for operation without an instrument of authorization is $10,000.11 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.12 In doing so, we find that the violations here warrant a proposed
forfeiture above the base amount. As the record reflects, Mr. Cheriza’s unlicensed operations on 107.3
MHz produced a spurious signal on the frequency 119.1 MHz, which caused harmful interference to Palm
Beach International Airport’s control tower communications, thereby creating a safety hazard to the
operation of aircraft. Moreover, the fact that Mr. Cheriza operated an unlicensed station after admitting to
knowing that such action contravened the Act and the Commission’s rules demonstrate a deliberate
disregard for the Act and the Commission’s requirements. Thus, we find that an additional upward
adjustment of $10,000 in the forfeiture amount is warranted.13 Applying the Forfeiture Policy Statement,
Section 1.80 of the Rules, and the statutory factors to the instant case, we conclude that Mr. Cheriza is
apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of $20,000.
IT IS ORDEREDthat, 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,
Robens Cheriza is hereby
APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITUREin the
amount of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) for violation of Section 301 of the Act.14
IT IS FURTHER ORDEREDthat, 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,
SHALL PAYthe full amount of the proposed forfeiture or
SHALL FILEa written
statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
11 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.
12 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(E).
13 See, e.g., Gabriel A. Garcia, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 26 FCC Rcd 3750 (Enf. Bur., San
Francisco Office 2011) (imposing a $25,000 forfeiture for repeated and willful violations of Section 301; the
forfeiture amount included a $15,000 upward adjustment because of the deliberate nature of the violations and the
interference caused to FAA operations).
14 47 U.S.C. §§ 301, 503(b); 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80.
Federal Communications Commission
Payment of the forfeiture must be made by credit card, check, or similar instrument,
payable to the order of the Federal Communications Commission. The payment must include the
Account number and FRN referenced above. Payment by check or money order may be mailed to
Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000. Payment by
overnight mail may be sent to U.S. Bank – Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005
Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101. Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA Number
021030004, receiving bank TREAS/NYC, and account number 27000001. For payment by credit card,
an FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice) must be submitted. When completing the FCC Form 159, enter
the NAL/Account number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID), and enter the letters “FORF” in
block number 24A (payment type code). Requests for full payment under an installment plan should be
sent to: Chief Financial Officer -- Financial Operations, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 1-A625,
Washington, D.C. 20554.15 For questions about payment procedures, contact the Financial Operations
Group Help Desk at 1-877-480-3201 or Email: ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov. Robens Cheriza shall send
electronic notification on the date said payment is made to SCR-Response@fcc.gov.
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 1.80(f)(3) and 1.16 of the Rules.16 The written statement must be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, South Central Region, Miami Office, P.O. Box
520617, Miami, FL 33152-0617, and must include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the caption. The
written statement shall also be emailed to SCR-Response@fcc.gov.
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 practices
(GAAP); or (3) some other reliable and objective documentation that accurately reflects the petitioner’s
current financial status. Any claim of inability to pay must specifically identify the basis for the claim by
reference to the financial documentation submitted.
IT IS FURTHER ORDEREDthat a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture shall be sent by both Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, and regular mail to Robens
Cheriza at his address of record.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
South Central Region
15 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.
16 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.16, 1.80(f)(3).
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