Federal Judge: Orange County Satellite Pirates Owe Dish Network $5.3 Million

A federal judge is ordering Orange County stores and two corporate officials to pay nearly $5.3 million to Dish Network for selling more than 25,000 devices that break the satellite broadcaster's encryption codes.

Inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter sided with Dish Network lawyers, who accused defendants Johnny Tran, New Era Electronics Corp., Satellite Dish Expert, Inc., Swyft Products LLC, Rene Valdez and FTA Republic of selling decryption devices such as Sonicview, iHub, SV Lan and WizHub.

Federal law allows victims of satellite piracy to recover as much as $2,500 per act of theft, but Dish Network lawyers said they would agree to the statutory minimum of $200 per violation, a move that resulted in Carter determining the defendants owe approximately $5.3 million.


“Given defendants' infringing sale of large, commercial quantities of pirating devices, and their failure to comply with the judicial process or to participate in any way in the present litigation, [Dish Network] is entitled to a judgment reflecting the statutory damages set by [federal law],” wrote Carter in his default judgment ruling.

In February, Dish Network won a $6.4 million judgment against Little Saigon businessman Tan Nguyen for operating a satellite piracy website that allegedly gave customers routes to bypass encryption codes, according to court records.

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