The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has levied the largest fine in the agency’s history against two Texas-based telemarketers for transmitting about 1 billion robocalls.
The $225 billion fine was issued against John Spiller and Jakob Mears, and their business entities Rising Eagle and JSquared Telecom, for making illegally spoofed calls selling short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans. According to a Forfeiture Order issued by the FCC in mid-March, the robocalls falsely claimed to offer insurance plans from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and other well-known insurance companies.
The case against Spiller, Mears, and their companies reportedly dates back to 2018, when a rise in consumer complaints about robocalls was ultimately linked to nearly 24 million health insurance robocalls being transmitted each day through the networks of the four largest wireless carriers. The FCC says that Rising Eagle was responsible for originating a large portion of these illegal calls.
In its Forfeiture Order, the FCC also notes that Spiller admitted to the U.S. Telecom Industry Traceback Group that he made millions of spoofed calls each day and that he and his entities knowingly called consumers on the federal Do Not Call list, believing that they were more likely to be responsive to the calls.