Continuing its campaign against phone fraud operations, the FTC has dismantled two major robocall organizations that the commission alleges were making hundreds of millions of calls over the course of several years to consumers who were on the Do Not Call registry.
The FTC filed complaints against two separate groups of defendants, the leaders of which have both been involved in previous legal actions for robocalling operations. The defendants each controlled several different corporate entities that were involved in selling home security systems, extended auto warranties, and other products through repeated automated phone calls. Many of the calls were to numbers on the DNC list, a violation of the telemarketing regulations.
The two main defendants in the complaints are Justin Ramsey and Aaron Michael Jones, and in separate actions, they and many of their co-defendants have agreed to court-ordered bans on robocall activities and financial settlements. The FTC alleges that Ramsey directed an operation that made millions of robocalls a month.
“According to the FTC’s complaint in the Ramsey action, the defendants illegally blasted millions of robocalls in 2012 and 2013 to consumers on the DNC Registry selling home security systems or generating leads for home security installation companies. In just one week in July 2012, the defendants allegedly made more than 1.3 million illegal calls to consumers nationwide, 80 percent of which were to numbers listed on the DNC Registry,” the FTC said in a statement.
“The FTC alleges that Ramsey continues to violate the TSR. For example, in April and May of 2016, the FTC alleges that he and his company, Prime Marketing LLC, placed at least 800,000 calls to numbers listed on the Do Not Call Registry.”
The complaint against Jones alleges that he was involved with 10 companies that were making robocalls. The volume of calls was huge, in the hundreds of millions a month at some points.
“According to the FTC’s complaint, between at least March 2009 and May 2016, the defendants made or helped to make billions of robocalls, many of which sold extended auto warranties, search engine optimization services, and home security systems, or generated leads for companies selling those goods and services. Many of those calls were to numbers on the DNC Registry,” the FTC said.
“In just the first three months of 2014, the FTC alleges that the defendants made more than 329 million robocalls to consumers in all 50 states, including 32 million to numbers on the Do Not Call Registry. In the first quarter of 2015, the FTC alleges that the defendants blasted out 222 million calls, including 40 million to numbers on the Do Not Call Registry.”
The FTC and the FCC both have been cracking down on illegal robocall operations recently. The FCC has formed a robocall strike force with the help of carriers and also has signed an agreement to cooperate with Canadian authorities to address the problem.