Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Page 3


Ham Radio Operator Sentenced to Seven Years for Jamming Frequencies


By a MetNews Staff Writer


By a MetNews Staff Writer

A Bell man convicted on federal charges of “jamming” radio frequencies being used by the United States military, the United States Coast Guard, and other law enforcement and public safety agencies was sentenced to seven years in prison yesterday.

U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner imposed the sentence on Jack Gerritsen, 70, who represented himself in a three-and-a-half day trial last December. He was found guilty of a felony charge of malicious interference with a communications system operated by the United States and of two misdemeanor counts of willful or malicious interference with radio communications and three misdemeanor counts of transmitting radio signals without a license.

The Federal Communications Commission investigated illegal radio transmissions linked to Gerritsen for four years, prosecutors said in a statement. In court documents citing the FCC investigation, they said Gerritsen transmitted prerecorded messages, as well as real-time harassment and profanity, for hours at a time, often making it impossible for licensed radio operators to use the public frequencies.

 Gerritsen has been associated over the years with a number of left-of-center political causes, most recently an effort to launch a recall of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and has frequently criticized President Bush over the airwaves.

Six years ago, Gerritsen was convicted in state court of interfering with a police radio frequency, and he was sentenced to 38 months in prison. Gerritsen was released from prison on July 28, 2003, and soon after the FCC began receiving complaints about his activity on the airwaves, the government said in its complaint.

Because of his continued unlawful radio transmissions, the FCC issued three “notices of apparent liability for forfeiture” for a total of $52,000.

The agencies whose transmissions Gerritsen was convicted of interfering with included the Bell Gardens Police Department, the Los Angeles City Fire Department, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the American Red Cross, and the Army Reserve.


Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company