Crimes arising out of the use or implementation of telecommunications services have greatly expanded with advances in technology. We can reach many more people at a much faster rate than ever before. Communications occur not just by email, fax or direct contact, but by postings on websites or social media sites; anything that is meant to reach another person. The most common type of telecommunication offenses are frauds and scams targeting consumers. Frauds committed through the use of a telecommunication device are typically prosecuted under the mail fraud or wire fraud statutes. Courts broadly interpret those statutes so a wide array of conduct falls within their reach. Crimes involving threats or intimidation also frequently involve telecommunications. Individuals and companies can also be prosecuted for intentionally violating FCC rules and regulations or defrauding the government through participation in an FCC program.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The FCC is the United States’ primary authority for communications law, regulation, and technological innovation.
The Enforcement Bureau (EB) is the primary FCC unit responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Communications Act, the Commission’s rules, orders, and various licensing terms and conditions. EB’s mission is to investigate and respond quickly to potential unlawful conduct to ensure: (1) consumer protection in an era of complex communications; (2) a level playing field to promote robust competition; (3) efficient and responsible use of the public airwaves; and (4) strict compliance with public safety-related rules. The Inspector General provides recommendations to detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse in FCC programs and operations.
Trombley & Hanes has represented clients in various telecommunications areas ranging from simple consumer frauds to more complex cases involving FCC rules and regulations.