THEFT OF TELECOMMUNICATION: FIVE MEN FROM THE LAURENTIAN REGION CHARGED

Saint-Jérôme, October 11, 2006 - Five men from the Laurentian region were charged with fraud and theft of satellite signals in September 2006 at the Saint-Jérôme Court House. These charges follow an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) which carried out a major cyberundercover operation to put an end to the illegal activities of a criminal organization involved in the Internet sale of cards used to pirate satellite signals.

This operation named Capricorne was a joint investigation by the RCMP Laurentides-Lanaudière-Outaouais Detachment officers, and Canada Post and Industry Canada investigators.

The project originated from suspicious financial transactions identified by Canada Post investigators. The investigators had observed a considerable number of postal money orders issued to two of the accused for the allowed maximum amount of $999.99. It is believed that between $10,000 and $15,000 were sent weekly to the accused through such money orders.

The subsequent criminal investigation by the RCMP revealed that these postal money orders were used to pay for cards used to pirate satellite signals. Three Internet sites controlled by the accused offered consumers to buy online these cards as well as related items and software. Purchases made online by RCMP and Industry Canada investigators showed that the various illegal electronic components were sold for $25 to $170 a piece.

The Internet sites used to commit these offences were disabled on June 29, 2005 when the RCMP conducted a series of six searches in the accused residences and at the company La Boîte Principale. This business located in Piedmont was registered under the name of the accused and was used for card programming, storage and piracy. On July 22, 2005 another search was carried out as part of Project Capricorne in a warehouse in the Saint-Sauveur region. This search led to the discovery of an even larger number of pirate cards and equipment used to pirate satellite television signals. Electronic components, documents related to the sale of these items and approximately thirty computers were found at the various locations searched.

The accused are:

Name

Age

Residence

Martin GAUTHIER

38

Saint-Sauveur

Allan Bruce MACDOWELL

46

Saint-Sauveur

Pierre LEBOEUF

41

Bois-des-Filion

Dimas Manuel VEIGA

41

Saint-Sauveur

Richard BÉLAIR

51

Sainte-Adèle

These five individuals were charged with fraud under section 380(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada and possession of device to obtain telecommunication facility or service under section 327(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

A complete analysis of the hard disks on the seized computers made it possible to trace the names and addresses of many clients of this ring. These clients could receive statements of offence.

The three partners in Project Capricorne wish to reiterate that they will pursue appropriate action in order to enforce applicable laws pertaining to illegal business practices such as fraud and the theft of telecommunications. The theft of satellite signals accounts for losses estimated at more than 100 million dollars annually for the Canadian economy.

The partners also take this opportunity to promote public awareness of this social evil and to encourage electronic equipment retailers and consumers to refrain from engaging in this illegal trade.

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For information:

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Communications Office
(514) 939-8308

Canada Post
Media Relations
(514) 345-7666

Industry Canada
Media Relations
(613) 943-2502