On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) handed out the biggest robocalling fine in its history: $120 million. The fine will have to be paid by a serial robocaller from Florida, Adrian Abramovich.
The commission found that Abramovich was behind 100 million robocalls over a period of only three months. Last month, the man denied before Congress that he was the “kingpin of robocalling”.
His claims haven’t impressed the FCC, though, which slapped him with a $120 million fine. The man has either to pay the fine or challenge it in federal court. Last year, the regulator fined another robocalling operation with $95 million over 20 million illegal robocalls.
In the Senate testimony, Abramovich cited his 5th Amendment rights which protect U.S. citizens against self-incrimination. The FCC rejected his legal response to the charges. But the man still claims that the robocalling operation was not designed to obtain anything of value.
Mr. Abramovich didn’t just have the intent to defraud or cause harm. He actually caused harm,
FCC’s head Ajit Pai recently said.
FCC’s Biggest Robocalling Fine Given for 96 Million Robocalls
The commission found that many of Abramovich’s victims bought travel deals that proved to be false. Some of the victims were elderly.
FCC’s latest fine is part of a larger effort to crack down on illegal robocalling operations. The agency’s website has been flooded with over 4.5 million complaints about the phone calls in recent years.
An investigation revealed that Abramovich’s two firms were behind around 96 million robocalls over just three months. Some of those automated dials promised travel deals that were hard to resist.
Abramovich used an illegal practice called “neighbor spoofing” when making the calls. Neighbor spoofing disguises the robocaller’s real phone number as a number from the victims’ neighborhood. The practice boosts the automated call’s chances of being picked up.
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