St. Croix Businessman Pleads Guilty to Satellite Piracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 13, 2009|
ST. CROIX, USVI—Greg Jimenez, 49, of St. Croix pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court on St. Croix to unauthorized publication or use of communications, United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe and FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Luis Fraticelli announced today. During the hearing before United States Magistrate Judge George W. Cannon, Mr. Jimenez admitted that on May 10, 2007, he sold a free-to-air receiver to a cooperating witness, and that on June 15, 2007, he loaded pirated software onto the receiver which, as modified, was able to unlawfully intercept and decode DISH Network programming.
“Intellectual property crime is a serious offense that harms the individual as well as the economy,” United States Attorney Sharpe said. “Beyond the immediate financial loss suffered by victims such as the DISH Network in this case, intellectual property crimes have the associated effects of increasing costs to all consumers. Indeed, law-abiding consumers bear the burden of such crimes by paying higher prices for satellite television, DVDs and CDs. Piracy of intellectual property in all forms will be prosecuted here in the Virgin Islands.”
Defendant faces a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of up to $500,000, a term of supervised release of not more than one year and a $100.00 special monetary assessment. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 25, 2010.
Intellectual property (IP) is a critical part of today’s economy that creates jobs and trade. In this decade, IP products represent approximately 6% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product and the industries involved represent approximately $5 trillion is assets. IP thieves in 2005 represented an estimated loss to the IP economy of $30-$35 billion. This does not include Internet piracy for which no meaningful estimates are available.
Global trafficking in counterfeit merchandise presents economic consequences no less severe. On a global scale it is estimated that between 5% and 7% of world trade is in counterfeit goods, which is equivalent to approximately $512 billion in global lost sales.
The FBI is continuing its investigation into IP piracy in the District of the Virgin Islands, including the sale of unauthorized satellite access devices, DVDs and CDs, and the illegal interception and de-scrambling of satellite signals in the Virgin Islands.
In announcing the conviction, United States Attorney Sharpe and Special Agent-in- Charge Fraticelli praised the investigatory work of the FBI and the work of Assistant United States Attorney Rhonda Williams-Henry who is prosecuting the case.