The Federal Communications Commission proposed the fine as a penalty for illegal nationwide robocalls.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed an $82 million fine for illegal health insurance telemarketer actions involving robocalls across the country. The fine would be applied against a man from North Carolina and his insurance company, which were behind the robocalls.
The FCC proposal accuses the man and insurance company of making over 21 million illegal robocalls.
The health insurance telemarketer conducted the robocalls in an attempt to sell policies. The man the FCC accuses of these illegal activities is Philip Roesel from Wilmington, North Carolina. It also includes Roesel’s company, Best Insurance Contracts which conducts its business as Wilmington Insurance Quotes. The individual and company are accused of conducting sales robocalls which displayed inaccurate caller ID information.
“In December 2016, a medical paging provider called Spok complained to Commission staff that robocalling campaigns were disrupting its network. Using information provided by Spok to connect these calls to Mr. Roesel, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau subpoenaed Mr. Roesel’s call records from October 2016 through January 2017,” said the FCC.
FCC investigators recorded 82,106 health insurance telemarketer calls conducted during the time in question.
Those were the calls for which the FCC has proposed the fine. The FCC stated that the Truth in Caller ID Act makes it illegal for callers to deliberately alter caller ID information to misrepresent themselves. This falsification act is known as “spoofing” and disguises the identity of the caller with the purpose of defrauding or harming the recipient of the call, or to obtain something of value from him or her.
FCC officials explained that Roesel and Best Insurance Contracts specifically targeted people who were sick, elderly and poor. “Mr. Roesel was responsible for more than 200,000 robocalls a day — 21.5 million altogether,” said FCC chairman Ajit Pai.
Pai stated that there were records stating that Roesel gave his employees specific instructions regarding the consumers they should target. Commissioner Clyburn said the attitude toward their health insurance telemarketer victims was “the dumber and more broke the better.” Clyburn said Roesel had even been quoted joking around with coworkers about the fact that these actions were indeed minor legal violations comparable to drinking slightly too much to legally drive.