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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Monday, June 10, 2019

Illegal Radio Station Broadcasting in Worcester Agrees to Settlement

BOSTON – The U.S. Attorney’s Office has reached a settlement with Vasco Oburoni and Christian Praise International Church regarding a radio station in Worcester that has been operating without a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

According to a consent decree filed today and subject to Court approval, Vasco Oburoni and Christian Praise International Church agree not to operate an unlicensed radio station in violation of the Communications Act of 1934. They also agree to surrender all of their broadcasting equipment. In the event the FCC reasonably suspects that they have violated the Act, the FCC may inspect the premises and seize any broadcasting equipment. Finally, if the FCC determines that the defendants have operated an unlicensed broadcasting station in violation of the settlement, the defendants must pay a $75,000 fine. 

According to the signed consent decree, Vasco Oburoni and Christian Praise International Church admitted that they operated a radio broadcast station in Worcester, on frequency 97.1 MHz, without a license from the FCC, and previously operated an unlicensed radio station on frequency 102.3 MHz. The FCC issued multiple warnings to the illegal operators and issued a forfeiture order in the amount of $15,000 against Oburoni for repeated violation of the Communications Act of 1934. Oburoni agreed to a payment plan, but later began broadcasting again without a license on a different frequency. The FCC received complaints, including from a licensed broadcaster that the unlicensed station was interfering with radio signals.

The Communications Act of 1934 prohibits the operation of radio broadcasting equipment above certain low-intensity thresholds without a license issued by the FCC. The Act authorizes the Department of Justice, at the request of the FCC, to seek an injunction ordering compliance with the Communications Act against operators broadcasting without an FCC license. The number of available radio frequencies is limited, and unlicensed broadcasting can interfere with the broadcasting of legitimate licensed radio stations, potentially causing chaos in the radio spectrum.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Rosemary Harold, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol E. Head of Lelling’s Asset Recovery Unit is handling the matter. 

Updated June 10, 2019