Illinois Statutes Chapter 720. Criminal Offenses §-18.Tampering with communication services;  theft of communication services

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§ 16-18.  Tampering with communication services;  theft of communication services.

(a) Injury to wires or obtaining service with intent to defraud.  A person commits injury to wires or obtaining service with intent to defraud when he or she knowingly:

(1) displaces, removes, injures or destroys any telegraph or telephone line, wire, cable, pole or conduit, belonging to another, or the material or property appurtenant thereto;  or

(2) cuts, breaks, taps, or makes any connection with any telegraph or telephone line, wire, cable or instrument belonging to another;  or

(3) reads, takes or copies any message, communication or report intended for another passing over any such telegraph line, wire or cable in this State;  or

(4) prevents, obstructs or delays by any means or contrivance whatsoever, the sending, transmission, conveyance or delivery in this State of any message, communication or report by or through any telegraph or telephone line, wire or cable;  or

(5) uses any apparatus to unlawfully do or cause to be done any of the acts described in subdivisions (a)(1) through (a)(4) of this Section;  or

(6) obtains, or attempts to obtain, any telecommunications service with the intent to deprive any person of the lawful charge, in whole or in part, for any telecommunications service:

(A) by charging such service to an existing telephone number without the authority of the subscriber thereto;  or

(B) by charging such service to a nonexistent, false, fictitious, or counterfeit telephone number or to a suspended, terminated, expired, canceled, or revoked telephone number;  or

(C) by use of a code, prearranged scheme, or other similar stratagem or device whereby said person, in effect, sends or receives information;  or

(D) by publishing the number or code of an existing, canceled, revoked or nonexistent telephone number, credit number or other credit device or method of numbering or coding which is employed in the issuance of telephone numbers, credit numbers or other credit devices which may be used to avoid the payment of any lawful telephone toll charge;  or

(E) by any other trick, stratagem, impersonation, false pretense, false representation, false statement, contrivance, device, or means.

(b) Theft of communication services.  A person commits theft of communication services when he or she knowingly:

(1) obtains or uses a communication service without the authorization of, or compensation paid to, the communication service provider;

(2) possesses, uses, manufactures, assembles, distributes, leases, transfers, or sells, or offers, promotes or advertises for sale, lease, use, or distribution, an unlawful communication device:

(A) for the commission of a theft of a communication service or to receive, disrupt, transmit, decrypt, or acquire, or facilitate the receipt, disruption, transmission, decryption or acquisition, of any communication service without the express consent or express authorization of the communication service provider;  or

(B) to conceal or to assist another to conceal from any communication service provider or from any lawful authority the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication;

(3) modifies, alters, programs or reprograms a communication device for the purposes described in subdivision (2)(A) or (2)(B);

(4) possesses, uses, manufactures, assembles, leases, distributes, sells, or transfers, or offers, promotes or advertises for sale, use or distribution, any unlawful access device;  or

(5) possesses, uses, prepares, distributes, gives or otherwise transfers to another or offers, promotes, or advertises for sale, use or distribution, any:

(A) plans or instructions for making or assembling an unlawful communication or access device, with the intent to use or employ the unlawful communication or access device, or to allow the same to be used or employed, for a purpose prohibited by this subsection (b), or knowing or having reason to know that the plans or instructions are intended to be used for manufacturing or assembling the unlawful communication or access device for a purpose prohibited by this subsection (b);  or

(B) material, including hardware, cables, tools, data, computer software or other information or equipment, knowing that the purchaser or a third person intends to use the material in the manufacture or assembly of an unlawful communication or access device for a purpose prohibited by this subsection (b).

(c) Sentence.

(1) A violation of subsection (a) is a Class A misdemeanor;  provided, however, that any of the following is a Class 4 felony:

(A) a second or subsequent conviction for a violation of subsection (a);  or

(B) an offense committed for remuneration;  or

(C) an offense involving damage or destruction of property in an amount in excess of $300 or defrauding of services in excess of $500.

(2) A violation of subsection (b) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that:

(A) A violation of subsection (b) is a Class 4 felony if:

(i) the violation of subsection (b) involves at least 10, but not more than 50, unlawful communication or access devices;  or

(ii) the defendant engages in conduct identified in subdivision (b)(3) of this Section with the intention of substantially disrupting and impairing the ability of a communication service provider to deliver communication services to its lawful customers or subscribers;  or

(iii) the defendant at the time of the commission of the offense is a pre-trial detainee at a penal institution or is serving a sentence at a penal institution;  or

(iv) the defendant at the time of the commission of the offense is a pre-trial detainee at a penal institution or is serving a sentence at a penal institution and uses any means of electronic communication as defined in Section 26.5-0.1 of this Code for fraud, theft, theft by deception, identity theft, or any other unlawful purpose;  or

(v) the aggregate value of the service obtained is $300 or more;  or

(vi) the violation is for a wired communication service or device and the defendant has been convicted previously for an offense under subsection (b) or for any other type of theft, robbery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, possession of burglary tools, home invasion, or fraud, including violations of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 in this or any federal or other state jurisdiction.

(B) A violation of subsection (b) is a Class 3 felony if:

(i) the violation of subsection (b) involves more than 50 unlawful communication or access devices;  or

(ii) the defendant at the time of the commission of the offense is a pre-trial detainee at a penal institution or is serving a sentence at a penal institution and has been convicted previously of an offense under subsection (b) committed by the defendant while serving as a pre-trial detainee in a penal institution or while serving a sentence at a penal institution;  or

(iii) the defendant at the time of the commission of the offense is a pre-trial detainee at a penal institution or is serving a sentence at a penal institution and has been convicted previously of an offense under subsection (b) committed by the defendant while serving as a pre-trial detainee in a penal institution or while serving a sentence at a penal institution and uses any means of electronic communication as defined in Section 26.5-0.1 of this Code for fraud, theft, theft by deception, identity theft, or any other unlawful purpose;  or

(iv) the violation is for a wired communication service or device and the defendant has been convicted previously on 2 or more occasions for offenses under subsection (b) or for any other type of theft, robbery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, possession of burglary tools, home invasion, or fraud, including violations of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 in this or any federal or other state jurisdiction.

(C) A violation of subsection (b) is a Class 2 felony if the violation is for a wireless communication service or device and the defendant has been convicted previously for an offense under subsection (b) or for any other type of theft, robbery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, possession of burglary tools, home invasion, or fraud, including violations of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 in this or any federal or other state jurisdiction.

(3) Restitution.  The court shall, in addition to any other sentence authorized by law, sentence a person convicted of violating subsection (b) to make restitution in the manner provided in Article 5 of Chapter V of the Unified Code of Corrections.

(d) Grading of offense based on prior convictions.  For purposes of grading an offense based upon a prior conviction for an offense under subsection (b) or for any other type of theft, robbery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, possession of burglary tools, home invasion, or fraud, including violations of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 in this or any federal or other state jurisdiction under subdivisions (c)(2)(A)(i) and (c)(2)(B)(i) of this Section, a prior conviction shall consist of convictions upon separate indictments or criminal complaints for offenses under subsection (b) or for any other type of theft, robbery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, possession of burglary tools, home invasion, or fraud, including violations of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 in this or any federal or other state jurisdiction.

(e) Separate offenses.  For purposes of all criminal penalties or fines established for violations of subsection (b), the prohibited activity established in subsection (b) as it applies to each unlawful communication or access device shall be deemed a separate offense.

(f) Forfeiture of unlawful communication or access devices.  Upon conviction of a defendant under subsection (b), the court may, in addition to any other sentence authorized by law, direct that the defendant forfeit any unlawful communication or access devices in the defendant's possession or control which were involved in the violation for which the defendant was convicted.

(g) Venue.  An offense under subsection (b) may be deemed to have been committed at either the place where the defendant manufactured or assembled an unlawful communication or access device, or assisted others in doing so, or the place where the unlawful communication or access device was sold or delivered to a purchaser or recipient.  It is not a defense to a violation of subsection (b) that some of the acts constituting the offense occurred outside of the State of Illinois.

(h) Civil action.  For purposes of subsection (b):

(1) Bringing a civil action.  Any person aggrieved by a violation may bring a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction.

(2) Powers of the court.  The court may:

(A) grant preliminary and final injunctions to prevent or restrain violations without a showing by the plaintiff of special damages, irreparable harm or inadequacy of other legal remedies;

(B) at any time while an action is pending, order the impounding, on such terms as it deems reasonable, of any unlawful communication or access device that is in the custody or control of the violator and that the court has reasonable cause to believe was involved in the alleged violation;

(C) award damages as described in subdivision (h)(3);

(D) award punitive damages;

(E) in its discretion, award reasonable attorney's fees and costs, including, but not limited to, costs for investigation, testing and expert witness fees, to an aggrieved party who prevails;  and

(F) as part of a final judgment or decree finding a violation, order the remedial modification or destruction of any unlawful communication or access device involved in the violation that is in the custody or control of the violator or has been impounded under subdivision (h)(2)(B).

(3) Types of damages recoverable.  Damages awarded by a court under this Section shall be computed as either of the following:

(A) Upon his or her election of such damages at any time before final judgment is entered, the complaining party may recover the actual damages suffered by him or her as a result of the violation and any profits of the violator that are attributable to the violation and are not taken into account in computing the actual damages;  in determining the violator's profits, the complaining party shall be required to prove only the violator's gross revenue, and the violator shall be required to prove his or her deductible expenses and the elements of profit attributable to factors other than the violation;  or

(B) Upon election by the complaining party at any time before final judgment is entered, that party may recover in lieu of actual damages an award of statutory damages of not less than $250 and not more than $10,000 for each unlawful communication or access device involved in the action, with the amount of statutory damages to be determined by the court, as the court considers just.  In any case, if the court finds that any of the violations were committed with the intent to obtain commercial advantage or private financial gain, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages by an amount of not more than $50,000 for each unlawful communication or access device involved in the action.

(4) Separate violations.  For purposes of all civil remedies established for violations, the prohibited activity established in this Section applies to each unlawful communication or access device and shall be deemed a separate violation.

Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Illinois Statutes Chapter 720. Criminal Offenses §-18.Tampering with communication services;  theft of communication services - last updated January 01, 2019 | https://codes.findlaw.com/il/chapter-720-criminal-offenses/il-st-sect-720-5-16-18/


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