FCC Proposes $10 Million Fine for Spoofed Robocalls in California Election

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a nearly $10 million fine against a California man for making tens of thousands of illegal robocalls over a two-day period in an effort to influence the outcome of California’s 2018 state primary election.

According to a Citation and Order issued in mid-December by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, Kenneth Moser, doing business as Marketing Support Systems, illegally placed over 47,000 unauthorized and disruptive prerecorded voice messages without the required caller identification information. In addition, more than 11,000 of the phone calls were made to wireless phone numbers without an emergency purpose or consent.

The phone calls, made on May 30 and 31, 2018, were directed to residents of California’s 76th State Assembly District in San Diego County. The messages described an alleged sexual assault involving Philip Graham, one of eight candidates running for an open seat in the California State Assembly. Just one day prior, on May 29, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department publicly exonerated Graham, saying that its own investigation into the alleged assault determined that it never occurred.

Further, Moser reportedly spoofed the phone number assigned to another telemarketing company, HomeyTel, Inc., in transmitting his robocalls. The FCC reports that Moser and the founder of HomeyTel, Conrad Braun, had “long and contentious relationship,” and that the robocalls resulted in Braun receiving a multitude of complaints as well as a cease-and-desist letter from Graham.

Read the Commission’s Citation and Order in connection with Moser.

Read the Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in the same case.

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