LAWFUEL – Law News, Law Jobs – A Bell, California man who was convicted of interfering with radio frequencies being used by the United States military, the United States Coast Guard and other public safety organizations was sentenced this afternoon to 84 months in federal prison.
Jack Gerritsen, 70, received the seven-year sentenced from United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner, who commented on the seriousness of interfering with radio frequencies used by public safety organizations and the fact that Gerritsen was a repeat offender.
Following a 3½-day trial last December, Gerritsen was found guilty of a felony charge of malicious interference with a communications system operated by the United States. He was also found guilty of two misdemeanor counts of willful or malicious interference with radio communications and three misdemeanor counts of transmitting radio signals without a license.
The Federal Communications Commission investigated illegal radio transmissions linked to Gerritsen for four years. According to court documents filed in this case, the FCC investigation revealed that Gerritsen transmitted prerecorded messages, as well as real-time harassment and profanity, for hours at a time, often making it impossible for licensed radio operators to use the public frequencies.
In 2000, Gerritsen was convicted in state court of interfering with the radio communications of the California Highway Patrol, and he was sentenced to one years in prison. After he was released from custody, Gerritsen applied for and received an amateur radio license from the FCC. Within a week, after the FCC realized it had given a license to someone convicted of interfering with public safety radio frequencies, the agency set aside the license.
The FCC has received complaints concerning Gerrisen’s activities from Ham radio operators and various agencies, including the military, the Coast Guard, local police departments and the American Red Cross. The evidence presented at trial showed that Gerritsen:interfered with a Coast Guard Auxiliary amateur operator, who was assisting the Coast Guard during a search and rescue operation on October 29, 2004;
interfered with American Red Cross radio transmissions on January 14, 2005, while the agency was preparing for disaster relief operations involving the Prado Dam; and
caused the cancellation of an Army Reserve homeland security training exercise on March 10, 2005 when he interfered with the United States Army Military Affiliate Radio System
transmitted over amateur radio frequencies without a valid license on three separate occasions in 2003 and 2004
Gerritsen, who represented himself at trial, has been in custody since his conviction last year.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission, which received substantial assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Lamar W. Baker
Release No. 06-122