For the second time in less than two months, the FCC is proposing an enormous fine for someone it alleges ran an illegal robocall operation.
The latest fine, announced Thursday, would be $82 million, against a North Carolin man named Philip Roesel, whom the commission says made more than 21 million illegal robocalls. The FCC says the calls used caller ID spoofing, a common technique designed to make recipients believe the calls are coming from a trusted number. In its statement, the FCC alleges that the company Roesel operated, Best Insurance Contracts, was making the robocalls to try to sell health insurance.
Some of the robocalls coming from the company allegedly disrupted the network of a medical paging company.
“In December 2016, a medical paging provider called Spōk complained to Commission staff that robocalling campaigns were disrupting its network. Using information provided by Spōk to connect these calls to Mr. Roesel, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau subpoenaed Mr. Roesel’s call records from October 2016 through January 2017. Based on these records, FCC investigators verified 82,106 health insurance telemarketing calls made during that time used falsified caller ID information,” the FCC statement says.
This case is remarkably similar to one announced in June by the FCC. That case, involving a Florida robocall operation, also involved caller ID spoofing and caused problems with the Spōk network. In that instance, the FCC proposed a $120 million fine against Adrian Abramovich, whom the commission alleges ran the Florida robocall company.
The FCC has been putting a lot of energy and resources into investigating illegal robocall operations in the last year or so. In addition to the two recent cases, the commission fined a company in New Mexico $2.8 million for providing a technical platform for making robocalls.