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TCPA Regulatory Update: FCC Levies Historic Fine against Robocaller for Malicious Spoofing

The FCC issued its largest ever fine, imposing a $120 million forfeiture against Adrian Abramovich for executing a massive robocall spoofing campaign. The FCC’s investigation found that Abramovich, through his businesses Marketing Strategy Leaders, Inc., and Marketing Leaders, Inc., violated the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 and the FCC’s rules by spoofing over 96 million robocalls during a three-month period in 2016 as part of an operation to sell timeshares and other travel packages. The FCC had received multiple consumer complaints about these calls, as well as complaints from companies whose names had been referenced in Abramovich’s robocalls without authorization, or whose communication networks had been disrupted by the calls. In adopting the $120 million fine – originally proposed the summer of 2017 – the FCC rejected Abramovich’s arguments that he did not intend to cause harm and that the proposed forfeiture amount was unconstitutional.

Congress had previously subpoenaed Abramovich to testify in the Senate Commerce Committee hearing “Abusive Robocalls and How We Can Stop Them,” discussed in last month’s TCPA digest Legislative Update. In that hearing, many lawmakers expressed support for the fine levied against Abramovich, and several disagreed with Abramovich’s decisions on multiple occasions to refuse to answer their questions and to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights.

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Russell H. Fox is a wireless communications attorney at Mintz. He guides clients through federal legislative, regulatory, and transactional matters. Russell also participates in FCC proceedings, negotiates spectrum agreements, and represents clients in spectrum auctions.

Radhika Bhat