DirecTV Inc. said Monday that it has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., against seven individuals.
The direct-broadcast satellite provider accused the defendants -- Janella McKenzie and William Bernard of Sunrise, Fla.; Veronica Whitfield of Fort Lauderdale; Vinrese Stewart of Mount Vernon, N.Y.; Marlon Trowers of Orange, N.J.; Karl Greenland of Laurelton, N.Y.; Lisa Mazyck of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and a number of unidentified defendants -- of fraudulently obtaining DirecTV programming services for other consumers.
The lawsuit added that the defendants created false subscription accounts and illegally activated hundreds of access cards and receivers nationwide for individuals, who then paid the defendants to receive DirecTV programming without authorization or proper payment to the company.
DirecTV said that according to the federal and state laws under which the complaint was filed, it is entitled to either actual damages, including any profits made by the defendants, or statutory damages that can range from $10,000-$100,000 per violation, as well as payment of all costs and attorneys' and investigative fees.
“We will not tolerate this illegal activity," DirecTV executive vice president of legal and business affairs Dan Fawcett said in a prepared statement. "Anyone attempting to defraud DirecTV will be identified and may face severe consequences under the provisions of federal and state law.”
Fawcett added, “Our office of signal integrity and legal team have several active fraud investigations under way, and we plan to vigorously pursue each of these cases civilly in federal court and, where appropriate, make referrals to the federal and state authorities for criminal prosecution. We are determined to protect our business and our honest customers from these unlawful activities.”