SAN DIEGO (CN) – Two men were arrested on federal charges of selling cheap “free to air” satellite receiver boxes that they had rigged to swipe signals from major satellite companies. Jung Kwak, 33, and Robert Ward, 54, run Viewtech out of Oceanside, Calif.
Free-to-air (FTA) boxes receive limited free programming, federal prosecutors said, most of it from ethnic or religious stations. Prosecutors say Kwak and Ward paid engineers to reverse-engineer Echostar’s copyrighted Dish Network technology, and put it into their “Viewsat” boxes.
“Millions of Viewsat FTA have been sold to the public,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Charged with Kwak, of Oceanside, and Ward, of Seminole, Fla., is Phillip Allison, 35, also of Seminole. If convicted, they face up to 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for conspiring to violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.