FCC Proposes Record $225M Fine for Illegal Robocalls

The FCC has voted unanimously to propose a $225 million fine against a Texas-based health insurance telemarketer for approximately one billion spoofed illegal robocalls, the largest fine in the FCC's history. 

The vote came at the FCC's June 9 public meeting, held via video conference, which was also unprecedented--the previous socially distanced public meetings had been via teleconference. 

The fines are against John C. Spiller and Jakob A. Mears under various business names including Rising Eagle and JSquared Telecom. 

The one billion calls came in only four-and-a-half months or early 2019 and were made on behalf of clients selling short-term health insurance plans. 

Spiller allegedly admitted to the Trace Back Group, the USTelecom backed group looking to ferret out illegal calls, that he specifically targeted numbers on the Do Not Call list. 

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel supported the fine, but also pointed out that despite a series of fines, almost no money has been collected to date. She said the FCC looked to the Department of Justice to do so, and lamented that there was a "whole of government " effoprt in not only fining but collecting.  


John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.