In what may be a landmark enforcement action against illegal radio operations, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has issued a nearly $150,000 forfeiture order against a Florida pirate radio operator and his landlords.
In a Forfeiture Order issued in mid-July, the FCC has ordered Fabrice Polynice and Harold and Veronise Sido to pay a financial penalty of $144,344 for willfully operating an unlicensed FM broadcast radio station from the Sidos’ residence in North Miami, Florida. The Forfeiture Order follows a 2017 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture issued against the parties in connection with what the Commission called its “longstanding joint operation” of “Radio Touche Douce” on 90.1 MHz FM, and their active promotion of their illegal broadcasts through Facebook.
In its Order, the Commission noted that it had a long history of enforcement actions against Polynice and the Sidos, dating back to 2013. The Commission also noted that the 2017 Notice of Apparent Liability found Polynice and the Sidos liable for a total proposed base forfeiture of $710,000, which was reduced to $144,344, the statutory maximum amount currently permitted under law.
In a separate statement issued on the matter, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly affirmed the basis for the Commission’s actions in this case and expressed his strong support for the agency’s actions in this and other cases involving pirate radio operations.