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Press Release

Florida Man Sentenced to One Year and One Day in Federal Prison for Providing Illegal Access to Digital Streaming Services

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Franklin Valverde Jr., 40, of Melbourne, Florida was sentenced to one year and one day after pleading guilty to providing illegal access to digital streaming services. The conviction is believed to be the first in the nation under the “Protecting Lawful Streaming Act” (PLSA) that went into effect in 2021.

Evidence presented to the court showed that Valverde made hundreds of thousands of dollars illegally selling access codes to individuals that allowed them to view the entire video libraries of Dish Network and Sling TV. Valverde is now retired from the Air Force but was stationed at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter when he began his involvement in the scheme to illegally sell the access codes. According to evidence presented before the court, Valverde sold access codes to individuals, typically for $10 per month. The codes allowed the customers to illegally access all the copyrighted content of Dish Network and Sling TV, including pay-per-view sporting events, movies, and television programs. Valverde also provided websites and apps to his customers so that they could view the copyrighted materials.

The PLSA was introduced in Congress in 2020 as a provision of the Covid-19 Stimulus Bill. The purpose of PLSA is to punish commercial, for-profit streaming piracy services that make money from illegally streaming copyrighted material. The PLSA specifically does not criminalize users of the illegal apps.

United States District Judge Mary G. Lewis sentenced Valverde to 12 months and one day imprisonment, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. Valverde was also ordered to pay $22,639.27 in restitution, plus a fine of $250,000. There is no parole in the federal system.

This case was investigated by the FBI Columbia Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney T. DeWayne Pearson is prosecuting the case.



Veronica Hill, Public Affairs Specialist,, (803) 929-3000

Updated May 2, 2024