November 17, 2005
THE STARPHOENIX (SASKATOON)
PAGE: A7 (LOCAL)
Firm fined for selling signals
Betty Ann Adam, The StarPhoenix
A now-defunct Saskatoon company has been fined $50,000 for the illegal
sale of satellite television signals.
Baron Technologies Ltd. pleaded guilty to 10 charges under the Radio
Communication Act and was handed the fine Wednesday in Saskatoon
Baron Technologies, owned by Kevin Baronowski, was one of seven
Saskatchewan companies charged by the RCMP in October 2003 after
legitimate distributors of Star Choice and Bell Express View complained
of the unauthorized sale of the signal at its storefront operation at
618 Circle Dr. East.
Charges against Baronowski and another company he owned, DSS Depot Inc.
were stayed by the Crown.
Baron Technologies was fined $5,000 on each count. Payment includes the
voluntary forfeiture of $5,000 worth of equipment, $20,000 in bail that
was tendered previously and a $25,000 cheque that was handed over
The guilty pleas relate to the sale and modification of "smart cards,"
which unscramble satellite television signals, but the company
acknowledged the guilty plea encompassed the entire "large-scale
operation," which also involved the sale of digital satellite dishes
and receiver components, said Crown prosecutor Barrie Miller.
Plainclothes RCMP officers who visited the store in 2002 found it was
selling illegal DirecTV RCA satellite systems with programmed cards for
$249. It also sold Fifth Generation satellite systems for $499 and
charged $20 for card programming.
Baron Technologies was "very blatant" about the sale of the equipment
at the store, where about 25 customers came and went in the time the
RCMP officer was there, Miller said.
The theft of satellite signals has a huge impact on legitimate
distributors, says a 2002 report prepared by the Canadian Motion
Pictures Distributors Association.
It estimated there were 600,000 unauthorized users of satellite dishes,
which translated into $300 million to $400 million per year in lost
Defence lawyer Robert Skinner said the business had shut down by the
time it was charged.
Businesses in Unity, Kerrobert and three in Regina were also charged
after the 2003 investigation.
Jarret Stewart of Saskatoon pleaded guilty recently to one count of
unauthorized distribution of satellite signals and was fined $3,000.
Darren Minisofer and his company, Satellite Warehouse, go to trial Dec.