Robocaller hit with $120M by FCC

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Spōk, a medical paging company, also complained after its network was disrupted by the calls. "This is the largest illegal robocalling scheme that the FCC has investigated to date, and we are appropriately imposing a $120 million forfeiture in response".

Robocalls are automated telemarketing calls that the FCC considers illegal, unless the recipient agrees to be called. Most would dissolve after one year, and Abramovich was the sole director in almost every case, the FCC said. This practice is illegal partly because federal officials maintain that victims are far more likely to pick up a call if it appears to be coming from their local neighborhood.

He formed 12 corporations in Florida since 1997, according to the FCC.

"Going after a single bad actor is emptying the ocean with a teaspoon", FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. Complaints submitted by both consumers and these companies are what led to the record find.

If the 96 million calls he was responsible for in 2016 sounds like a large number, there were reportedly 3.4 billion made in just the last month, according to the tech site. "I am not the kingpin of robocalling that is alleged".

"Our decision sends a loud and clear message: this FCC is an active cop on the beat and will throw the book at anyone who violates our spoofing and robocall rules".

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He denied engaging in "fraudulent activities" and said "it was always my intent with the FCC to negotiate toward an appropriate fine within my ability to pay such an amount".

In a statement from the FCC, Chairman Ajit Pai said Abramovich did not dispute making the millions of calls, nor did he dispute that the calls were made with "inaccurate caller ID information".

"But it's still happening and we're still getting them", said Michael Inouye, analyst for ABI Research.

But Inouye said that it might be possible to cut back on robocalling, with proper coordination between the FCC and communications companies.

"I don't know if it's possible to make it go away completely, but you can definitely do things to reduce the number of calls you get today", he said.