WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday imposed an $82 million fine against a telemarketer who made more than 21 million unsolicited calls to consumers to try to sell health insurance and generate leads.
Over a three-month period beginning in late 2016, Philip Roesel and his companies made more than 200,000 calls every day, the FCC said, using a technique known as spoofing in which a person’s caller ID displays a number that is different from the one the caller is actually using.
“By spoofing his caller ID information, Mr. Roesel made it difficult for consumers to register complaints and for law enforcement entities to track and stop the illegal calls,” the FCC said in a statement.
Such conduct, the agency said, causes significant harm to consumers.
The FCC did not say how much money Roesel generated from his robocalling scheme, but FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement that, “It’s impossible to believe that he would have generated the same volume of leads (and potential commissions) had he not made over 21 million unlawfully spoofed robocalls.”
Roesel, based in North Carolina, did not immediately respond to requests for comment made through his business Wilmington Insurance Quotes. He has claimed that the FCC failed to prove he intended to harm consumers and that any value he received from the calls was not obtained wrongfully, according to the FCC.
The agency concluded that “the evidence did not support these claims.”