FCC calls for record fine against suspected fraudulent operators who made 1 billion automated calls

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The record sentence, announced on Tuesday, is the largest proposed fine in the history of the FCC. He targets Texas-based Rising Eagle for allegedly spamming consumers in more than half a dozen states, including Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.

The calls, which took place in the first half of 2019, allegedly tried to sell fake short-term health insurance plans from large insurers such as Aetna and Cigna to consumers. Victims lured by the alleged fraud then presented policies from other suppliers who were customers of Rising Eagle, the FCC said.

Following the FCC’s proposed fine, attorneys general of the seven states on Tuesday filed an action for damages, a penalty and an injunction against Rising Eagle, JSquared Telecom and two men accused of controlling the two companies.

John C. Spiller, one of the men believed to be behind Rising Eagle in the complaint, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to the FCC press release, Spiller admitted “that he had knowingly called consumers on the do not call list because he believed it was more profitable to target these consumers”, “that” he was spending million calls a day and he was using spoofed numbers. ”

“We are making it clear that defrauding consumers and – as we have seen in this case – inducing consumers to buy products under false pretenses cannot and will not remain uncontrolled,” said FCC President Ajit Pai. , in a press release. “This is why the FCC and state officials are mobilizing and taking strong action to protect the American public from the scourge of spoofed automated calling. “Tuesday’s coercive measure is part of a larger crackdown by the US government on unwanted automated calls after years of consumer complaints. According to YouMail, a spam filtering service that monitors automated call activity, nearly 20 billion automated calls have been made in the United States so far this year. Last year ended with over 58 billion calls to the YouMail index.

In recent months, the FCC has decided to force telecommunications companies to implement new call authentication technologies, and has sought to impose more fines. But some critics, including within the agency, say federal authorities need to do more after making headlines with massive sanctions.

“So far, recoveries from these mind-boggling fines have yielded virtually nothing,” FCC Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. ” Why? Well, one reason is that the FCC is turning to the Department of Justice to collect agency fines from the appellants. We need them to help. “

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