Skip to main content

Satellite Pirate Sentenced, Owes DirecTV, NDS $24M

A federal judge has sentenced a Florida man to seven years in jail for stealing satellite broadcast services from DirecTV.

Martin C. Mullen--a.k.a Martin Stewart-- was also ordered to pay $24 million in restitution to DirecTV and NDS, a subsidiary of its smart card provider.

Mullen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit satellite piracy offenses against the United States and for violating a deportation statute. Mullen did not act alone; his piracy scheme involved more than 100 sub-dealers and the distribution of thousands of smart cards in Canada and the United States. Evidence showed that Mullen's hacking career goes back to the 1980s when he started attacking C-band technology, although DirecTV smart cards had not yet been hacked when Mullen was caught. Current DirecTV smart cards from NDS have not been hacked, according to DirecTV.

Prosecutors in the case have also obtained a 95-count indictment against another alleged satellite TV pirate, Paul Maxwell King.