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1997-11-04 -- Gilbert Walz convicted for conspiracy. Gilbert Walz, partner at Tech Support Systems and Countersurveill ance, Inc., was convicted for conspiracy. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NOVEMBER 4, 1997 Michael J. Yamaguchi, United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, announced today that late yesterday afternoon Gilbert Walz, age 41, a partner at Tech Support Systems and Countersurveillance, Inc., located in Burlingame, California, was convicted for conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C.  371, and for selling and sending devices whose design rendered them primarily useful for the surreptitious interception of wire, oral, and electronic communications, in violation of 18 U.S.C.  2512. The indictment charged Walz with one count of conspiracy and two violations of Section 2512 (sending and selling interception devices in interstate commerce). After a two-week trial before District Judge James Ware in San Jose, California, the jury returned its verdicts, convicting Walz of all counts, after a little more than two hours of deliberation. The indictment alleged that the device, known as a Cellmate, was designed for the primary use of surreptitious interception and recording of cellular telephone calls without the permission or knowledge of the participates of a cellular telephone conversation. The Cellmate is a portable device which fits in a briefcase; it generally consists of an altered cellular telephone, a decoder and tape recorder. The Cellmate is capable of specifically targeting a particular cellular telephone number for interception. The Cellmate also has the capability of scanning the air waves for cellular telephone numbers to intercept. At trial, the government argued that the Cellmate was dangerous to law enforcement because it could be used by persons to compromise undercover operations and law enforcement investigations; the device was dangerous to businesses, such as Wall Street and Silicon Valley firms, because it could be used for industrial espionage; and the device was dangerous to the general public because the Cellmate could be used to invade private conversations. Section 2512 lawfully permits the sale of these interception devices to United States Government agencies and to providers of communications services (such as telephone companies or cellular providers). The charges contained in the indictment related to sales in March 1997 to another person in the United States who was not associated with the government or a provider of communications services. Documents produced at trial indicated that Walz and Tech Support Systems sold Cellmate devices throughout the world, including foreign companies and governments, and U.S. businesses, such as the Spy Factory, which recently plead guilty in the Southern District of New York for violations of federal law. This criminal investigation was conducted by the San Francisco Office of the United States Customs Service. Experts from the United States Secret Service offices in Washington D.C. and New York provided assistance in the trial of this case. Walz is scheduled to be sentenced on February 4, 1998. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and $250,000 fine for each of his convictions. Questions regarding this matter can be directed to Assistant United States Attorney, Carlos Singh, of the United States Attorney■s Office in San Joe, (408)535-5065, who prosecuted the government■s case. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Michael J. Yamaguchi, United States Attorney 450 Golden Gate Avenue, 11th Floor San Francisco, CA 94102 Main Office Number: 415-436-7200 Public Affairs Office: 415-436-7247; fax: 415-436-7234 Stephen A. Shefler: FAUSA and Public Information Officer [email protected] Archived News Releases/Documents: http://www.usdoj.gov/press.html gopher://gopher.usdoj.gov