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Florida Pirate Fined $17,000

Florida Pirate Fined $17,000

Not only did Pensacola resident Ward Dean operate a radio station without authorization, he refused to let agents inspect the facility, according to the FCC when it fined Dean $17,000. Responding to a complaint in 2003 that a station was operating illegally on 103.7 MHz in Pensacola, FCC field agents used direction-finding techniques that led them to Dean’s residence. He wouldn’t let them in, nor would he confirm or deny operating the station, according to the Enforcement Bureau.
The field agents noted the station stopped transmitting on that frequency after they warned Dean.
When he was originally fined the $17,000, Dean argued he had not been provided due process because he didn’t have a chance to defend himself. He said the agents trespassed on his property and did not have a warrant. Dean also argued that there was no evidence he was operating the equipment.
The FCC said Dean’s allegations were unsubstantiated, that even if Dean did not directly control operating the transmitter, he knew or should have known there was an operation on his premises.
The agents left the house when it became clear Dean would not let them conduct an inspection, so they did not trespass and did not need a warrant, said the agency, which upheld the original fine.
Dean had 30 days to pay or appeal.