Montréal, May 3, 2007 – On Wednesday, investigators of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Federal Investigation Section, arrested three men suspected of stealing and illegally selling satellite television signals.

The investigation, dubbed operation “Costume”, also resulted in the search of two places of business and three places of residence. The investigators seized a number of items, including a 2006 Nissan 350Z motor vehicle and material that may have been used to steal satellite signals.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Through operation “Costume”, the investigators intend to demonstrate that the suspects modified and sold decoders for the purpose of illegally accessing television channels. The alleged fraudsters invited potential clients to place orders through a Web site. It is also suspected that they occasionally gave their clients instructions on how to modify the receivers to unlawfully intercept satellite signals.

”We believe that the alleged fraudsters invited consumers to their residences to pick up the illegal material required to decode satellite signals, and charged them approximately $250 per receiver. Since it is estimated that they had nearly 2,000 clients, we can infer that the broadcasting industry lost approximately $1,200,000 in legitimate subscriptions annually. In fact, some clients could also be prosecuted,” says Corporal Luc Bessette of the RCMP Communications Office.

The men arrested could face several charges, including modifying and selling equipment contrary to the Radiocommunication Act. They could also be charged with theft of satellite signals and possession of device to obtain telecommunication facility or service under the Criminal Code of Canada. Any person found guilty of such offences is liable to imprisonment for a maximum of two years.

Four Persons Arrested in One Month
This investigation is the result of joint efforts by the investigators of Montreal RCMP Federal Investigation Section, Industry Canada and Bell Express Vu.

The RCMP and Industry Canada will continue to pursue appropriate action to enforce federal laws pertaining to illegal business practices such as fraud and theft of telecommunications. Two weeks ago, another man alleged to have stolen satellite signals was arrested in the Sherbrooke region. The theft of satellite signals accounts for losses estimated at more than 300 million dollars annually for the Canadian economy.

The RCMP and Industry Canada 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.


For information:
Corporal Luc Bessette
Communications Office
(514) 939-8308

Industry Canada
Media Relations
(613) 943-2502