The Federal Communications Committee (FCC) has issued a record-breaking $120 million fine to a Florida man responsible for making millions of illegal robocalls, he department announced on Thursday.
“Tough enforcement is a key part of the FCC’s robust strategy for combating illegal robocalls, and this Forfeiture Order represents a big step forward in our enforcement efforts,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on Thursday. “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.”
Adrian Abramovich is reported to have made over 100 million illegal robocalls from 2016 to 2017, the FCC reported, offering vacation deals to unsuspecting customers. His scheme instructed them to “Press 1” to hear more about “exclusive” vacation deals from prominent companies like Marriott, Hilton and TripAdvisor.
Customers would be transferred to a call center with live operators offering to sell them one or more “discounted” vacation packages, such as timeshares. Neither Abramovich nor the call center were affiliated with brands presented in the pre-recorded message. Some consumers paid hundreds of dollars for vacations that were significantly different from the ones presented to them, the FCC said.
Abramovich admitted to being behind the calls but denied any wrong-doing, he told lawmakers in a testimony on April 18. (RELATED: FCC Releases The Day Net Neutrality Will Officially End)
“All the resorts were legitimate. All the vacations, everything was included. There was no fraudulent activity,”Abramovich said. “Costumers knew what packages they were purchasing.”
Abramovich made on average over 200,000 calls on Saturdays and made 2,121,106 calls on his busiest day, October 19, 2016. The fewest amount of calls he made in one week was 644,051, the Miami Herald reported.
He formed 12 corporations in Florida since 1997, according to the FCC. Most would dissolve after one year, and Abramovich was the sole director in nearly every case, the FCC said.
If you receive a robocall, the Federal Trade Commission recommends not pressing any numbers, hanging up your phone, blocking the number, and reporting it to them at FTC.gov.
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