The Federal Communications Commission issued a record-breaking fine Thursday against an auto warranty scam call operation.
In a news release, the FCC confirmed it had issued a nearly $300 million fine for the robocalls made by “the largest illegal robocall operation the agency has ever investigated,” KTLA sister station KVEO reports.
The FCC stated that a large international network of companies — including Sumco Panama, Virtual Telecom, Davis Telecom, Geist Telecom, Fugle Telecom, Tech Direct, Mobi Telecom and Posting Express — violated federal laws when they made more than 5 billion robocalls to more than 500 million phone numbers within only a three-month span in 2021.
Additionally, the robocalls violated spoofing laws by using more than 1 million different caller ID numbers to trick people into answering, the FCC stated.
“We take seriously our responsibility to protect consumers and the integrity of U.S.
communications networks from the onslaught of these types of pernicious calls,” said FCC
Enforcement Bureau Chief Loyaan A. Egal. “I want to thank the Enforcement Bureau’s
Telecommunications Consumers Division for its groundbreaking work on this case, and we
will continue to work with our federal and state partners to hold these entities and others
engaged in similar conduct accountable.”
The FCC named Roy M. Cox and Aaron Michael Jones as “central players of the operation,” and noted they were under lifetime bans against making telemarketing calls.
In response to the scam calls, the FCC directed all U.S.-based voice service providers to stop carrying traffic associated with certain members of the enterprise, the release stated. As a result, the number of illegal robocalls dropped by 99%.
“The Commission also proposed a fine and offered the parties a chance to respond, which they did not do, resulting in today’s unprecedented fine,” the FCC stated.