FCC fines Texas-based telemarketers $225M for 1 Billion fake Calls

fcc texasbased 225m

The greatest proposed penalty in the Federal Communications Commission’s 86-year history is a $225 million punishment against Texas-based telemarketers for making one billion fraudulent robocalls. John C. Spiller and Jakob A. Mears faked almost one billion calls in the first half of 2019 while posing as Rising Eagle and JSquared Telecom.

On behalf of customers, the two made phone calls to people to promote limited-time, short-term health insurance policies. Later, Spiller admitted to intentionally calling people on the Do Not Call list because it was “more profitable” to do so, according to the US Telecom Industry Traceback Group, a joint effort that aggressively identifies the source of unlawful robocalls.

Ajit Pai, the chairman of the FCC, said in a statement that the duo made millions of calls a day using spoofed numbers. Also, they took special care to include buyers who had put their personal information on the National Do Not Call Registry. They then attempt to steal money or important personal data using scripts.

Mears and Spiller falsely stated that they offered health insurance plans from reputable organizations including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Aetna, and UnitedHealth Group in this case. FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks stated that the facts are quite a clear cut here. 

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel continued that over the past few years, the FCC has imposed hundreds of millions in financial penalties against robocallers just like the people. In reality, The Wall Street Journal discovered that we had only collected $6,790 out of hundreds of millions of dollars in fines.

Why? The FCC turns to the Department of Justice to recover on the company’s fines targeting robocallers, so that is one reason. We must assist them. Therefore, it’s not a good omen when they stay out of it, like they did here.” Rising Eagle violated the 2009 Truth in Caller ID Act, which forbids the manipulation of caller ID data with the intention of defrauding, causing injury, or fraudulently obtaining anything of value.

The FCC claims that the fraud also resulted in a rush of irate clients for the businesses whose identities were impersonated. One firm received “many” lawsuits, another’s phone network crashed due to overload, and an elderly and disabled client fell down while attempting to take numerous calls.

After the proposal on Tuesday, Pai declared that seven state attorneys general had filed lawsuits against Rising Eagle, JSquared Telecom, Spiller, and Mears, seeking a permanent injunction and up to $3,000 in penalties for each infraction.