SACRAMENTO- LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire -United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced today that DARRYL SCOTT POLL, age 44, of Moorpark, California was sentenced late yesterday by United States District Judge David F. Levi to five years of prison for his participation in a nationwide and international cable piracy scheme that resulted in the sale and distribution of over 100,000 cable descramblers designed to illicitly obtain cable programming, and that resulted in gross sales of over $12 million.
The case is the product of an extensive investigation jointly conducted by the Sacramento Valley Hi Tech Crimes Task Force, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the United States Secret Service, with the assistance of the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Defendant POLL had previously pleaded guilty to eight felony charges of assisting in the unlawful interception and reception of communications services offered over a cable system. In sentencing the defendant, Judge Levi stated that POLL was a “scofflaw” who committed a “serious economic offense.” The Court further noted that defendant had been “defiant”of previous injunctions issued by other courts which barred POLL’s involvement in descrambler manufacturing/sales. In addition to imposing a sentence of five years, the Court imposed a fine of $350,000, and ordered that the defendant be placed on supervised release for a period of three years following his sentence. POLL was remanded into custody immediately to begin serving his sentence.
According to Assistant United States Attorney S. Robert Tice-Raskin, who prosecuted the case, between approximately June, 1998 and December, 2003, defendant POLL and a co-defendant, CARLO MIRELES, doing business as Wholesale Electronics and Red Rock Group, Ltd., operated a business which manufactured and sold cable television descramblers allowing illicit access to cable programming. Defendants advertised the descramblers extensively through a series of web sites on the Internet and also through national magazines. Defendants and their employees manufactured and sold the devices from facilities located in Simi Valley, California and/or Las Vegas, Nevada. The devices were specifically modified and/or designed to allow consumers to receive premium and pay-per-view cable television programming without the knowledge or authorization of cable operators. As a result, consumers across the United States and in various foreign countries were able to use the descramblers to receive unlimited cable programming for free, depriving cable operators of subscription fees for the pirated programming. It is believed that defendants sold approximately 100,000 illicit descramblers and received over $12 million in revenue from these sales. The Court determined that the “infringement amount,” a reasonable estimate of the pecuniary harm caused to cable operators through loss of programming revenue, was over $7 million. In a pending civil forfeiture action, the United States is also seeking to forfeit approximately $244,000 in proceeds of the cable piracy offense.
Co-defendant CARLO MIRELES, age 32, previously from Las Vegas, Nevada, and currently a resident of Captain Cook, Hawaii, also pleaded guilty to charges related to the scheme in 2004 and is currently scheduled for sentencing on June 14, 2007.
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