DirecTV Files Piracy Suits

DirecTV Inc. has filed federal suits against individuals in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Philadelphia, alleging that the individuals set up false subscription accounts and illegally activated set-top converters.

Named in the suits filed in U.S. District Court in both New York and Philadelphia Tuesday were Brooklynites Michael Grant, Rylon and Jean Grant, as well as 59 unidentified defendants, and Philadelphia residents Larry and Victoria Osborne and Jon Owens and 44 "John Does."

The suits accused the defendants of violating the federal Communications Act, federal wiretap laws and other state statutes.

DirecTV could receive either actual damages, including any profits earned from illegal enterprises, or statutory damages from $10,000-$100,000 per violation, plus attorneys’ and investigation fees.

In a prepared statement, executives from the direct-broadcast satellite firm said several other fraud investigations are currently under way.