Three Puerto Rican Men Arrested on Federal Charges in Dish Network Services Piracy Scheme
On Nov. 2, a federal indictment against three Puerto Rican men was unsealed after their arrest for their roles in a conspiracy to provide pirated DISH Network (DISH) services to thousands of Puerto Ricans, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez for the District of Puerto Rico. DISH is a Colorado based company that provides satellite television to its customers for a fee and has invested heavily in measures to ensure that its services are not intercepted by copyright infringers, also known as pirates.
The three-count indictment charges Arnaldo Vazquez, 41, aka “Naldo,” aka “naldo.dish;” Awildo Jimenez, 36, aka “Wildo,” “joselo626,” and “wildo20;” and Higinio Lamboy, 46, aka “Ingi,” with one count of conspiracy to circumvent protective systems, infringe copyrights and traffic in satellite decryption devices, one substantive count of trafficking in technology designed to circumvent technology copyright protection systems and one substantive count of circumventing a technological measure that protects a copyrighted work.
The indictment describes Vazquez and Jimenez as owners and operators of a company that provided the pirated services to customers who paid a monthly cash fee to receive copyrighted content delivered from DISH satellites and identifies Lamboy as their salesman and repairman for the hardware that they provided to their customers. The indictment further describes a complex scheme to steal the copyrighted content for financial gain through the interception of encrypted DISH signals that were distributed to paying DISH customers and decrypted through DISH-issued hardware. For example, the indictment alleges that the defendants used DISH’s network control words, or decrypted code, and placed them onto an Internet Key Sharing (IKS) server, which was under their control. Placing the control words on the IKS server aided the decryption and distribution of the pirated content. The defendants also provided their customers with receivers that were programmed with software that allowed them to bypass DISH’s anti-piracy measures, which then allowed their customers to connect to the conspirators’ bootleg IKS server to access the copyrighted content.
The indictment alleges that the defendants used online chat forums to discuss their criminal enterprise, resolve technical problems related to their DISH piracy, and facilitate the payment for their criminal deeds and purchase of equipment needed to further their scheme.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case is the result of the investigative efforts of the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Kebharu Smith of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Cannon of the District of Puerto Rico.